Turning the full circle: rationale and mechanics of rice exports from Bangladesh

Working Paper
[FMRSP Working Paper No. 4]

Provisioning of adequate food security for the people has always been fundamental to successive governments of Bangladesh. This national resolve has been adequately evidenced by the rising rice production out-stripping a high population growth. With the production rise, the food grain markets also expanded rapidly. While rice production rose dramatically, the marketed portion also rose rapidly. In recent years, about 50 percent of rice harvests have gone through marketing channels, averaging about 10 million metric tons (MT) annually. Rapidly rising production, coupled with liberalized policies adopted by the government, have influenced the conventional policy environment of the past. Thus, the open market sales (OMS) prices these days are very near market prices. One of the most important policies was to keep the OMS price of rice below its import parity price, thereby allowing the private sector to import rice in times of crises, besides removal of all tariffs and other barriers to free import. However, for a free market regime, both import and export windows need to be open to reap the full benefits of the market. Case studies of India and Vietnam indicate that it is not difficult to become a net exporter within a short time of being an importer. In these changed circumstances, rice export becomes a viable proposition as an essential element of national food policy.



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Date and language
Jan 2000
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