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3 February, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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Food security goal

Food security goal

Bangladesh’s food output has doubtlessly gone up manifold over the last four decades due to widespread introduction of modern farm technology. But vulnerability of food production to natural calamities remains as before. Everybody has learnt this hard truth again this year when all food production projections went haywire due to two consecutive floods. A large shortfall in production, coupled with severe depletion of government food stock, pushed the price of rice, the main staple, to a record high level. The price of the item is yet to show any sign of coming down even at this peak aman harvesting season. Indications are that the price level would continue to be high also in the future months, putting the food security of poor and low-income families at risk.

One would, naturally, find the content of a recent report of the SANEM (South Asian Network of Economic Modelling) quite relevant to the outcome of the negative developments in food production. The report estimates that over 0.52 million people have been pushed below the poverty line by the ongoing hike in rice prices. Finance Minister AMA Muhith, however, expressed his inability to accept the finding of the report saying that such assessment could not be made readily or within a short period of time.

 

Bangladesh, having an impressive scorecard in economic growth performance and social development parameters in recent years, should have been better placed in meeting both food security and safety of its vulnerable segment of population.

Inefficient management of food, failure to boost food production due to highly inadequate spending on areas of research and development in agriculture sector and, obviously, multi-pronged corruption are among the key factors contributing to the country's unsatisfactory food security situation. Any improvement in the current state of affairs would call for policy and management changes in relevant areas. And the government has to be proactive to implement such changes. Bangladesh is often at the mercy of natural calamities such as floods, droughts and cyclones. It also witnesses frequent land erosion causing thousands of people to lose their lands every year.

Despite gains achieved by Bangladesh in augmenting availability of staple food, a data-based safety net programme must be put in place to insulate the poverty-stricken population from chronic as well as temporary food insecurity that results from external shocks. A number of food safety net programmes are in operation in Bangladesh, each with its own specific objectives and target population. We hope these programmes would be successful.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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