Demand for healthy, high-quality food and beverages is rising in Bangladesh, thanks to a growing population and an increasing number of middle-income households.
This is creating opportunities for Australian agricultural exports, including dairy, citrus, table grapes, grain, oil seeds and pulses.
Bangladesh’s GDP increased from US$115.3 billion in 2010 to US$416.3 billion in 2021. This makes it one of the world’s fastest-growing economies over the past decade.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Bangladesh-Australia relations. On 15 September 2021, the Australia-Bangladesh Trade and Investment Framework Arrangement (TIFA) was signed. The TIFA will help expand bilateral trade opportunities across several sectors including agriculture, infrastructure and education.
Australia hosted a government delegation from Bangladesh in February 2022 for the first official TIFA meeting.
Australia exported a record $1.2 billion in agricultural, fisheries and forestry (AFF) products to Bangladesh between July 2021 and June 2022 (Source: ABS 2022). This record number was due to increased chickpea, canola and wheat exports.
However, the value of Australian horticulture exports to Bangladesh fell in 2021–22. This was due to poor seasonal conditions in Australia and a lack of freight availability for exporters, rather than reduced demand in Bangladesh.
Figure 1: Top Australian AFF exports to Bangladesh (FY2017–18 to FY2021–22)
Rising incomes and an increasingly health-conscious population have led to increased dairy consumption in Bangladesh.
Figure 2: Bangladesh dairy imports (2016–2021)
Demand for fresh fruit, including citrus and table grapes, has increased substantially since 2017 (see Figure 3). Imports fell in 2021, primarily due to reduced demand from the tourism sector and slower economic growth, which is reducing consumer spending power. Despite recent declines, demographic trends are expected to drive Bangladesh’s demand for imported fruit over the medium term.
In June 2021, the Australian and Bangladeshi governments agreed on improved import conditions for Australian citrus and table grape exports. This included allowing in-transit cold treatment. In-transit treatments shorten the time between harvest and arrival in-market, which improves the quality of the fruit.
Figure 3: Bangladesh citrus and fresh grape imports (2017–2021)
The value of Australian grain, canola seed and pulse exports to Bangladesh increased by 180% in 2021–22. This was due to record Australian production, high global prices and reduced production in Bangladesh. As Bangladesh’s population grows, demand for staple products, such as chickpeas, lentils, wheat and canola, will continue to increase.
With food security concerns likely to rise, Australia has an important role as a reliable supplier of high-quality crop products to Bangladesh.
The Manual of Importing Country Requirements has information about Bangladesh’s import conditions.
Austrade has more information about market opportunities in Bangladesh.
The Australian Government’s network of Agriculture Counsellors provided information for this article. More information about the Agriculture Counsellor network, including contact details, is available on the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry website.