There is no likelihood of food shortage in Bangladesh in the new year. However, we may have some cause for concern regarding food supply.
In 2020, different countries experienced food-related fears and concerns due to the pandemic. Though Bangladesh was no different, the country did not face any food shortages.
In rural areas, covering 70-75% of the country, people cultivated both agricultural and fallow land around their homes. They made a concerted effort to grow food on their own, which is why we did not experience any major crises.
In the meantime, the supply chain crisis gradually pushed up food prices. Communities are still suffering, and this is likely to continue in the new year as well. With regards to rice, perhaps this is a recently developed crisis, which will only end if the Boro season goes well.
Prices of all other items are higher as well -- not just domestically, but globally. Although we have rice, we have to depend on foreign countries for many products, including oil, sugar, and pulses. If the exporting countries do not resolve their production crisis, our predicament will continue.
People who have lost incomes during the pandemic are not able spare any additional expenses for food. For them, this is also a food shortage of sorts. We need to be prepared for this ahead of time.
The food ministry decided to import rice three months ago, which it eventually decided in the face of growing pressure. If imports had resumed and sustained in smaller amounts earlier, the market would have stabilized and there would have been rice in government warehouses.
If you make the wrong decision, the consequences will ultimately pass on to the consumers. This issue will have to be taken seriously next year, and the appropriate policies should be implemented in a timely manner.
In an attempt to counteract fallout from the virus through the agri-sector, the government has undertaken several initiatives to boost agri-production, which will yield good results next year.