This book describes how Bangladesh transformed its food markets and food policies to free the country from the constant threat of famine. Since 1990, the Bangladeshi government has dismantled its food rationing system, privatized grain distribution, eased restrictions on international trade, and reduced its own presence in grain markets. The foundation for these developments was laid in the preceding decades. Improvements in agricultural science in the 1970s roughly doubled farm yields, while in the 1980s liberalization of irrigation restrictions, the lifting of import barriers to irrigation technology, and the privatization of fertilizer distribution rapidly increased rice cultivation. These increases in production, coupled with improvements in infrastructure and a more slowly growing and increasingly urban population, have substantially changed the structure of food grain markets, leading to increased marketing volumes, lower prices, and significantly larger private grain stocks. The book sets the Bangladeshi case in the larger context of the South Asian subcontinent and other developing countries in Asia. The authors examine the shifting structure of supply and demand in the grain markets, the history of government intervention in those markets, and the more recent changes that altered the arguments for such intervention and led to policy changes. The case of Bangladesh also has more general relevance as a study of the outcomes of a market-oriented reform program.
1 Introduction 1 RAISUDDIN AHMED AND STEVEN HAGGBLADE PART I Shifting Structure of Foodgrain Supply and Demand 2 Foodgrain Production and Imports: Toward Self-Sufficiency in Rice? 21 PAUL DOROSH 3 Liberalization of Agricultural Input Markets in Bangladesh 49 RAISUDDIN AHMED 4 Evolving Rice and Wheat Markets 73 NUIMUDDIN CHOWDHURY AND STEVEN HAGGBLADE 5 Trends in Consumption, Nutrition, and Poverty 101 AKHTER U. AHMED PART II Historical Perspective on Public Food Interventions 6 History of Public Food Interventions in Bangladesh 121 A. W. NURUDDIN AHMED, LUTFUL HOQUE CHOWDHURY, AND STEVEN HAGGBLADE 7 Legal Environment Affecting the Foodgrain Trade 137 SHAMSUR RAHMAN 8 Food Aid in Bangladesh: From Relief to Development 148 DAVID A. ATWOOD, A. S. M. JAHANGIR, HERBIE SMITH, AND GOLAM KABIR 9 Dynamics and Politics of Policy Change 165 TAWFIQ-E-ELAHI CHOWDHURY AND STEVEN HAGGBLADE PART III The Changing Case for Government Intervention 10 Price Stabilization and the Management of Public Foodgrain Stocks in Bangladesh 189 FRANCESCO GOLETTI 11 Targeted Distribution 213 AKHTER U. AHMED 12 Agricultural Diversification: A Strategic Factor for Growth 232 WAHIDUDDIN MAHMUD, SULTAN HAFEEZ RAHMAN, AND SAJJAD ZOHIR 13 Prospects for Rice Exports in Bangladesh 261 FRANCESCO GOLETTI, A. S. M. JAHANGIR, AND SAJJAD ZOHIR 14 Conclusion: Old Lessons and New Directions in Food Policy 278 STEVEN HAGGBLADE AND RAISUDDIN AHMED Contributors 295 Index 299