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COVID-19 and policy impacts on the Bangladeshi rice market and food security

26, May 2021 |


Mobarok M.H.Thompson W.Skevas T.


This research employs a partial equilibrium model to estimate the short- and long-run effects of COVID-19 and rice policies on Bangladesh’s rice market and food security. We also analyze the impact of relevant policies in terms of their effectiveness in mitigating stresses stemming from a hypothetical pandemic with a COVID-19-like impact. The results indicate that the effect of COVID- 19 on Bangladeshi food security during FY 2019/20 was mixed, as the indicators of food availability improved by 5%, and decreased by 17% for food stability, relative to what they would have been otherwise. Policy simulation results indicate that a higher import tariff improves self-sufficiency status, but undermines rice availability and accessibility by bending the market toward a restrictive trade regime. Results also indicate that unlike stock enhancement policy, closing the existing yield gap improves rice availability, accessibility, and moderates the depressing effect of a future event with repercussions similar to COVID-19, although the yield policy appears more speculative and could be too costly. The insights generated contribute to the understanding of policies that aim to achieve sustainable development goals related to aggregate food security, and build resilience against future shocks akin to COVID-19.