Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)-Bangladesh's rice import value has increased to around $284.72 million in the first ten months of FY 2013-14.

Rice import value of the ten months covering July 2013 to April 2014 is up about 15.47 times or about 1,447 percent from around $18.41 million during the same period in FY 2012-13.

Oryza came with the disclosure based on the latest letter of credit (LC) data released by the Bangladesh Bank (BB).

A BB official told local media sources that fall in global rice prices, simultaneous surge in domestic rice prices and appreciation of the local currency against the dollar are the key drivers to increase in imports.

Data from the Food Planning and Monitoring Unit showed that coarse rice price in Bangladesh stood at around $420 per ton in Dhaka, while it was around $400 per ton in the Indian state of West Bengal, reports Oryza.

According to data from the Bangladesh Food Ministry, in the FY 2013-14, the country imported around 374,560 tons of rice as on June 5, 2014 (of which 371,500 tons are imported by the private sector and 3,060 tons are imported by the government).

The imported rice amount is up about 13 times from around 28,812 tons imported during the same period in FY 2012-13.

Bangladesh imported 28,930 tons of rice in FY 2012-13 (25,270 tons by private sector and 3,660 tons by the government).

The government of Bangladesh has set a target of importing around 200,000 tons of rice in next fiscal year (2014-15) to replenish falling stocks in the country, according to the Directorate of Food.

UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and USDA estimate Bangladesh to import 400,000 tons (including government and private sector) in 2014.

 BBN/AS-09June14-7:45pm (BST)