Rising food prices a concern for 71% families in Bangladesh: World Bank

Meanwhile, neighbouring India, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Bhutan and Nepal had much lower figures.


Traders at a wholesale market in Barishal city are seen unpacking various vegetables before selling them to retailers from all over the country. Although the ongoing inflationary pressure has eased a bit, food security remains a concern as commodity prices are still high. PHOTO: THE DAILY STAR

January 3, 2024

DHAKA – Rising prices of food items are a cause for concern for 71 percent of families in Bangladesh, according to a World Bank report.

The global lender revealed the data in its Food Security Update in December, when prices of all vegetables were spiralling unusually in the country’s retail markets in spite of supplies being adequate since winter is the peak harvesting season.

The report classified countries into four categories based on the rate of food inflation, placing Bangladesh in the second highest category with 12.6 percent for the October-November period.

Meanwhile, neighbouring India, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Bhutan and Nepal had much lower figures.

In October, overall inflation in Bangladesh stood at 9.93 percent, according to data published by the state-run Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS).

However, inflation fell by 44 basis points to 9.49 percent in November, led by a decline in both food and non-food prices, according to the BBS.

But the prices of commodities on which low-income groups are dependent still remain high. As a result, the slight decline in inflation will not give them any respite, according to experts.

Meanwhile, according to the primary findings of a survey conducted by the BBS, one in every five households in Bangladesh experienced food insecurity in 2023.

The BBS carried out the survey for “Food Security Statistics 2023” last June on 29,760 households across the country.

Some 0.83 percent of the households faced “severe” food insecurity while 21.08 “moderate”, according to the survey, the full report of which is yet to be published.

According to the World Bank report, Bangladesh government’s food grain production targets for fiscal year 2022-23 were marginally underachieved.

There were 1.85 million tonnes of food grain in government stocks as of December 10 last year whereas 1.76 million tonnes in June, as per the report.

It said food grain import bills were 1.4 percent lower than that in 2022 while prices of non-grain food items were 20 percent lower.

Domestic rice prices have remained largely stable, although the price of high-quality rice has fallen since April last year.

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