Although food price inflation remains at a multiyear high in South Asian countries, there is no major food shortage in Bangladesh as of July, the World Bank said on Thursday.
Pakistan has experienced some decreases in wheat and rice production (because of lack of fertilizer and a heat wave), and Bhutan and Sri Lanka are experiencing significant shortages in domestic food supply, according to the World Bank's South Asia Food Security Update.
The government of Bangladesh reduced rice import tariffs, increased the budgetary allocation to agriculture, increased fertiliser subsidies, and provided a cash incentive to exporters, the World Bank said.
According to the report, food price inflation reached 8.3% in Bangladesh, 80% in Sri Lanka, and 26% in Pakistan.
The World Bank said that Bhutan is stocking essential food items directly and through concessional working capitals to wholesalers and retailers while the government of Pakistan has been providing targeted subsidies and has increased coverage of social protection programmes to protect the poorest households from high food prices.
According to the release, agricultural production in Sri Lanka has decreased by 40% to 50% because of fertiliser shortages, and there is a lack of foreign exchange to purchase food imports.
Some relief is coming from the first shipment of 44,000 tonnes of urea supported by Indian credit (and 21,000 tonnes is expected to arrive soon).