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Bangladesh’s dependence on imports of agricultural inputs

Bangladesh’s dependence on imports of agricultural inputs

DHAKA: Bangladesh’s dependence on the imports of four major agricultural inputs such as cereal seeds, fertiliser, pesticides and agro-machinery is highest in South Asia, according to a study.  The country imported agro inputs worth US$ 6.805 billion during 2010-2014 and the amount was 12.44 per cent of the region’s total import in the period.

At the same time, export of these farm inputs was negligible, only $75.51 million or less than one per cent of the region’s total import. India leads the export market of the four intermediates with more than 82 per cent share.

A study titled “Agricultural Input Trade and Food Security of South Asia” revealed the scenario, which also showed that countries like Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka were already importing agricultural inputs from within SAARC countries.

Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS International), an India-based international research organisation, conducted the study last year. The report showed Bangladesh recorded a trade deficit of nearly $ 6.73 billion in the four agricultural inputs in five years.

CUTS finding showed the eight SAARC countries import key agro inputs including cereal seeds, fertiliser, pesticides and machineries worth $ 54.70 billion combined between 2010 and 2014.

India has been leading both export and import trade in the region with a $ 39.64 billion of import and $ 9.60 billion of export. Bangladesh’s overall import and export ratio is 90:1 when it is 4:1 for India and 56:1 for Pakistan, according to the CUTS study.

The research observed that as India has a trade surplus in some inputs, the imports share of cereal seeds is significantly lower as compared to its export share, this indicate that India can act as the trade equaliser in promoting trade among SAARC nations.