Rice Markets In The 1997-98 Aman Season: A Rapid Appraisal Analysis

Working Paper
[FMRSP Working Paper No. 1]

Following the aman harvest in December 1997, both paddy and rice prices rose sharply, (instead of falling), amidst reports of large production shortfalls in various regions in Bangladesh. In order to assess the extent of the production shortfall, the market price situation, stock behavior, cross-border trade and other market conditions, a rapid appraisal was undertaken from 14 January to 23 January, 1998 in five selected districts: Bogra, Naogaon, Dinajpur, Mymensingh and Sherpur. A total of 88 persons were interviewed, including 23 government officials (from the Ministry of Food and the Ministry of Agriculture), 39 millers and traders, and 26 farmers.

Among the most important findings of the rapid appraisal were that most millers and traders expected little further increase in market prices and that cross-border trade flows (both formal and informal) were substantial. Farmers’ reported losses varied widely, and were on average, much larger than then-current regional estimates, (or the final official estimates) implied.

The 1997/98 aman shortfall and this rapid appraisal suggest several lessons for future monitoring and assessment of rice production and market conditions in Bangladesh. First, there is a need for proper assessment of a potential production shortfall due to insufficient rain at the critical growth stages of paddy. Selective crop cuttings can help ascertain the magnitude of "chita" (empty husks). Second, there is a need for an early warning system to detect the probability of shortage of rainfall during the grain filling stage of paddy. Third, extreme caution should be used in interpreting farmers’ estimates of production shortfalls. Assessments of short-term market conditions by millers and traders appear to be more reliable.


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Date and language
Jun 1998
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