Located in South Asia, Bangladesh today relies heavily on wheat imports from India for its domestic requirements. Bangladesh’s reliance on India for wheat can be clearly seen from the fact that it Imported wheat worth 1031.42 USD millions from India in the financial year 2021 itself.
However, Bangladesh not always did view wheat as a commodity that it needed for its domestic needs. Prior to 1975-76, it was grown sporadically in the country and was an unknown crop for the people of Bangladesh. Back then, rice was considered to be the main crop of the country. But the 1971 war of liberation which led to disruption in agricultural activities and natural calamities, made the people of Bangladesh believe that rice alone could not meet the domestic food requirements and wheat then became an alternate food crop that would help the country meet its domestic needs as it remains free from natural calamities.
Today, wheat commands a commendable position in cereal crops for Bangladesh, ranking only behind rice in terms of importance.
Why Does Bangladesh Imports Wheat?
While the war of independence made the people of Bangladesh realize that wheat too was important as rice alone could not fulfill the domestic food needs of the people of the country, rice continued to occupy a major share in Bangladesh’s production year by year. Even today, rice holds approximately 80% of the total cropped area in the country. As a result, wheat holds a meager 4% of the total cropped area and is the cause behind low production that forces the country to import wheat for its domestic needs.
Exports of Wheat from India
India is the second largest wheat producer in the world. It ranks only behind China in terms of production of wheat. However, despite this, India accounts less than 1% in the total global wheat trade. The reason being, India’s high domestic consumption. Almost all of the wheat produced is consumed domestically.
Despite this, India continues to export wheat to address food security concerns and to help neighboring countries meet their domestic needs. A major share of India’s wheat exports goes to markets of Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Bangladesh-The Top Importer Of Indian Wheat
Located to India’s east, Bangladesh tops the list in terms of imports of Indian wheat. With more than 54% share in India’s wheat exports both in volume and value, Bangladesh remains the top exporting destination for Indian Wheat Suppliers. In the year 2020-21 itself, India exported 11,57,399.35 tonnes or USD 299.4 million of wheat to Bangladesh which was 55.4 per cent of the total volume of wheat exported by India.
Even after 50 years of war of independence, Bangladesh isn’t self-sufficient when it comes to wheat. A major share of the country’s crop area is dedicated to rice production and as a result wheat only occupies a meager 4% in the country’s total crop area. Owing to this, it relies heavily on wheat imports from India for its domestic needs and is the major imported of Indian wheat today.