You are here: Home News Bangladesh's food security policy to be showcased in G8
Bangladesh's food security policy to be showcased in G8

May 31, 2010

For its sustained food security policy and practices, Bangladesh will be showcased in the upcoming G8 summit and Asia Food Security Investment Forum in the Philippines as a model among developing countries. However, nearly 50 million Bangladeshis still live in extreme poverty.

Dr Shenggen Fan, Director General of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) disclosed this to The Daily Star in an exclusive interview on the sidelines of the two-day 'Bangladesh Food Security Investment Forum' rounded off in Dhaka on Thursday.


“The reasons why Bangladesh's case will be projected as a model are: 1) its achievement in the past in augmenting food production; 2) Bangladesh government's strong commitment to ensure food security; and 3) its advancement in drafting a national food policy plan of action,” explained the chief of the Washington-based food policy think-tank IFPRI.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the forum, hosted by the Bangladesh government with cooperation from the United States Agency for International Development, Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies, IFPRI and Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, and other national and international development partners.

“Bangladesh will be showcased at Asia Food Security Investment Forum and also at G8 summit so that other nations get inspired in pursuing food security,” said Shenggen Fan.

Asia Food Security Investment Forum is scheduled to be held in the Philippines from July 7 to 9 while G8, an economic and political forum for the leaders of eight of the world's most industrialised nations, will hold its next summit in Canada on June 25-26. The G8 includes United States, United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Russia.

“In the past decade especially, Bangladesh has made impressive economic and social progress towards achieving many of the Millennium Development Goals. Poverty, for example, has fallen from 57 % of the population in 1990 to 40 % in 2005 despite repeated natural disasters and external shocks, and economic growth during the last decade has averaged an impressive annual growth rate of 6 %” said Fan
The number of people in the world suffering from hunger and poverty has risen to more than one billion, and Bangladesh is not immune to this reality, he said.

“Overcoming challenges to food security has played and continues to play a significant role in the development agenda of Bangladesh. According to IFPRI's 2009 Global Hunger Index, food security has improved in Bangladesh since 1990, with the country moving from an extremely alarming to an alarming level of hunger,” said Fan

The proportion of undernourished in Bangladesh fell from 36 % of the population to 26 % in 2006, he added.

Shenggen Fan, who did Ph D in applied economics from the University of Minnesota, noted that with population continuing to rise, arable land getting scarcer and climate change forcing the weather pattern to become erratic, Bangladesh is bound to face more challenges in the future than in the past in sustaining food security.

“There will be frequencies of cyclones, droughts and rains in years to come. Global food market is unlikely to be stable anytime soon and food prices will remain volatile,” predicted the IFPRI chief.

Bangladesh should build up an 'optimum stock' of food grains, and diversify its food trade partners instead of relying on neighbouring India only, he suggested.

"Despite tremendous accomplishments in the past, an IFPRI literature notes, 50 million people in Bangladesh still live in extreme poverty, and 36 million are chronically hungry or malnourished"

Given both the current state of food insecurity in Bangladesh and the challenges it will face in the future, Fan said a comprehensive policy framework is needed that places focus on investment strategies in three major areas.

These are agricultural research and extension; improved access of farmers to well-functioning markets; and improved insurance and targeted social safety net programmes for vulnerable groups, specially undernourished women and children.

He stressed that across these three areas, attention needs to be focused on capacity building and good governance.

Despite tremendous accomplishments in the past, an IFPRI literature notes, 50 million people in Bangladesh still live in extreme poverty, and 36 million are chronically hungry or malnourished. Over 40 % of Bangladeshi children lack the nutrition they need for healthy lives.

Shenggen Fan pointed out that public investment is one of the most direct and effective instruments that governments can use to promote growth and food security, and for poverty and hunger reduction.

For making correct investment decisions, Fan said, a government needs good analysis and also needs to strengthen its research capacity. “Good people (capable of doing research) are out there (in Bangladesh), what they require are proper incentives and right environment.”

Most Read
Most Shared
You May Like

7th National CR Sammelan 2019



Jobs at OneWorld









Global Goals 2030
OneWorld South Asia Group of Websites