Skip to main content

Wheat Production and Consumption Dynamics in an Asian Rice Economy: The Bangladesh Case


Wheat consumption in Asia’s major rice economies has been increasing over the decades. Bangladesh is no exception, despite being the world’s fourth largest rice-producing and the largest rice-consuming country. In Bangladesh, wheat consumption has doubled from 1961 to 2013, and now stands at 17.5 kg per capita, about a ninth of the rice consumption. Densely populated Bangladesh has achieved rice self-sufficiency, but relies on imports to top up modest domestic wheat production. This study assesses the prospects for Bangladesh to expand its wheat production. The rice–wheat production system offers good prospects to expand wheat production in Bangladesh and respond to increasing domestic demand. Based on the findings, this study urges the expansion of wheat production in the seasonally fallow land, particularly in southern Bangladesh. Also, this study calls for further investments in wheat research and development to ensure local adaptation, comparative advantage, and sustainable intensification.

La consommation de blé dans les économies principalement de riz en Asie a augmenté au fil des décennies. Le Bangladesh ne fait aucune exception, en dépit d’être le quatrième plus large producteur de riz et son plus grand consommateur. Au Bangladesh, la consommation de blé a doublé de 1961 à 2013, et s’élève aujourd’hui à 17,5kg par habitant, soit environ un neuvième de la consommation de riz. Densément peuplé, le Bangladesh a atteint l’autosuffisance du riz, mais s’appuie sur les importations pour compléter la production modeste de blé domestique. Cette étude évalue les perspectives du Bangladesh pour incrémenter sa production de blé. Le système de production de riz et de blé a des bonnes perspectives de croissance, et répond à la demande domestique en hausse. En tenant compte des résultats, cette étude exhorte l’expansion de la production de blé dans les périodes de jachères saisonnières, en particulier dans le sud du pays. En outre, cette étude fait appel à de nouveaux investissements dans la recherche et le développement du blé pour assurer l’adaptation locale, un avantage comparatif du pays, et l’intensification durable de son élevage.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Figure 1

Sources: Authors’ calculation, GOB (2009, 2016).

Figure 2

Source: FAO (2017).

Figure 3

Sources: BARC (2016a) and BBS (2008).


  1. Ahmed, S.M. and Meisner, C.A. (1996) Wheat Research and Development in Bangladesh. Dhaka: International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT).

    Google Scholar 

  2. BADC (Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation) (2013) Minor Irrigation Survey Report 201213. Dhaka: Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation, Ministry of Agriculture, Government of Bangladesh.

    Google Scholar 

  3. BARC (Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council) (2016a) Suitability Map of Wheat. Dhaka: Ministry of Agriculture,, accessed January 02, 2016.

  4. BARC (Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council) (2016b) Distribution of Land Type by District and Upazila (Based on Land Resource Information Database of BARC). Dhaka: Land Resource Information Management System. Ministry of Agriculture, Government of Bangladesh,, accessed May 8, 2016.

  5. BARI (Bangladesh Agriculture Research Institute) (2016) Search Variety: Cereal Crop: Wheat. Dhaka: Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute,, accessed February 08, 2016.

  6. BBS (Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics) (2010) BangladeshAgriculture Census 2008. Dhaka: Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, Ministry of Planning, Government of Bangladesh.

    Google Scholar 

  7. BBS (Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics) (2011a) Population and Housing Census 2011. Dhaka: Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, Ministry of Planning, Government of Bangladesh.

    Google Scholar 

  8. BBS (Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics) (2011b) Statistical Yearbook of Bangladesh 2010. Dhaka: Ministry of Planning, Government of Bangladesh.

    Google Scholar 

  9. BBS (Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics) (2014) Statistical Yearbook of Bangladesh 2013. Dhaka: Ministry of Planning, Government of Bangladesh.

    Google Scholar 

  10. Dey, N.C., Bala, S.K., Islam, A.K.M., Rashid, M.A. and Hossain, M. (2013) Sustainability of Groundwater Use for Irrigation in Northwest Bangladesh. Dhaka: National Food Policy Capacity Strengthening Programme (NFPCSP) and BRAC, Bangladesh,, accessed March 22, 2016.

  11. Erenstein, O. and Thorpe, W. (2011) Livelihoods and agro-ecological gradients: A meso-level analysis in the Indo-Gangetic Plains, India. Agricultural Systems 104(1): 42–53.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. FAOSTAT (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) (2017) Food and Agriculture Data: Food supply-crops primary equivalent. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (UNFAO),, accessed 08 March, 2017.

  13. GOB (Government of Bangladesh) (2009) Bangladesh Economic Review2010. Dhaka: Ministry of Finance,, accessed April 01, 2015.

  14. GOB (Government of Bangladesh) (2016) Bangladesh Economic Review2016. Dhaka: Ministry of Finance,, accessed March 08, 2017.

  15. Gumma, M.K., Thenkabail, P.S., Teluguntla, P., Rao, M.N., Mohammed, I.A. and Whitbread, A.M. (2016) Mapping rice-fallow cropland areas for short-season grain legumes intensification in South Asia using MODIS 250m time-series data. International Journal of Digital Earth 9(10): 981–1003.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Heckman, J.J. (1976) The Common Structure of Statistical Models of Truncation, Sample Selection and Limited Dependent Variables and a Simple Estimator for such Models. Annals of Economic and Social Measurement 5(4): 475–492.

    Google Scholar 

  17. Hossain, M. (1998) Sustaining food security in Asia: Economic, social, and political aspects. In: N.G., Dowling, S.M. Greenfield and K.S. Fischer (eds.) Sustainability of Rice in the Global Food System. International Rice Research Institute, Los Baños (Philippines), pp. 19–43.

  18. Huang, J. and Bouis, H.E. (1996) Structural Changes in the Demand for Food in Asia. Washington DC: International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

    Google Scholar 

  19. Mahmumd, I. (2016) Farmers are discouraged to produce boro rice for profit loss. The Daily Prothom-alo. April 17, 2016, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

  20. Malaker, P.K., Barma, N.C.D., Tiwari, T.P., Collis, W.J., Duveiller, E., Singh, P.K., Joshi, A.K., Singh, R.P., Braun, H.-J., Peterson, G.L., Pedley, K.F., Farman, M.L. and Valent, B. (2016) First report of wheat blast caused by Magnaporthe oryzae pathotype Triticum in Bangladesh. Plant Disease, doi:10.1094/PDIS-05-16-0666-PDN.

  21. McArthur, J.W. (2015) Agriculture’s role in ending extreme poverty. In: Chandy, L., Kato, H. and Kharas, H. (eds.) The Last Mile in Ending Extreme Poverty. Washington DC: Brookings Institution Press, pp 175–218.

    Google Scholar 

  22. MOA (Ministry of Agriculture) (2013) Directory of Registered Seed Dealers. Dhaka: Seed Wing, Ministry of Agriculture, Government of Bangladesh., accessed 7 Jan 2013.

  23. Morris, M., Chowdhury, N. and Meisner, C. (1996) Economics of wheat production in Bangladesh. Food Policy 21(6): 541–560.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Morris, M.L., Chowdhury, N. and Meisner, C. (1997) Wheat Production in Bangladesh: Technological, Economic and Policy Issues. IFPRI Research Report No. 106. Washington DC: International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

  25. Mottaleb, K.A. and Krupnik, T.J. (2015) Uptake of Scale-Appropriate Agricultural Machinery in Bangladesh: Policy Insights from Historical and Census Survey Analyses. Research Report No. 3. Cereal Systems initiative for South Asia Mechanization and Irrigation (CSISA-MI) project. Dhaka: CIMMYT, Bangladesh.

  26. Mottaleb, K.A., Mohanty, S. and Nelson, A. (2015) Factors influencing hybrid rice adoption: A Bangladesh Case. Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics 59(2): 258–274.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Pingali, P. (2007) Westernization of Asian diets and the transformation of food systems: Implications for research and policy. Food Policy 32(3): 281–298.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Rogers, E.M. and Shoemaker, F.F. (1971) Communication of Innovations: A Cross Culture Approach. New York: The Free Press, Collier Macmillan Publishing Inc., pp. 11–28.

    Google Scholar 

  29. Shamsudduha, M., Chandler, R.E., Taylor, R.G. and Ahmed, K.M. (2009) Recent trends in groundwater levels in a highly seasonal hydrological system: The Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna Delta. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 13: 2373–2385, doi:10.5194/hess-13-2373-2009.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Timsina, J. and Connor, D.J. (2001) Productivity and management of rice-wheat cropping systems: Issues and challenges. Field Crops Research 69(2): 93–132.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Wheat Atlas (2016) Global Distribution of Wheat Mega Environments. El Batan (Mexico): International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT),, accessed April 01, 2016.

  32. World Bank (2016) World Development Indicators: Renewable internal freshwater resources per capita (cubic meters).Washington DC: World Bank., accessed December 22, 2015.

Download references


We thank the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) for access to the census data. This study was made possible through the support provided by the CGIAR Research Program on Wheat agri-food system (CRP WHEAT AFS). The contents and opinions expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of views of the donor or the authors’ institution. The usual disclaimer applies.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Khondoker A. Mottaleb.

Additional information

Supplementary Information accompanies on European Journal of Development Research website (

Electronic supplementary material

Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.

Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 18 kb)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Mottaleb, K.A., Rahut, D.B., Kruseman, G. et al. Wheat Production and Consumption Dynamics in an Asian Rice Economy: The Bangladesh Case. Eur J Dev Res 30, 252–275 (2018).

Download citation


  • wheat
  • production
  • consumption
  • land allocation
  • smallholder farmer
  • Bangladesh