Good Example Of Report On Food Insecurity In Bangladesh
Type of paper: Report
Topic: Food, Bangladesh, Security, Government, Politics, Development, Cluster, Agriculture
The fundamental purpose of this study is to provide an insight of the food insecurity in Bangladesh and analyze the challenges associated with meeting the food security in the country. Although the country has significantly adopted various programs to enhance food security in the country, various factors have hindered substantial and sufficient food production. Such factors include soil fertility, population growth, natural resources crop diseases and pest, political factors, climatic change, and increased poverty level. Findings indicated that although the country has made major steps to increase the food production, almost half of the populations are still challenged by the food shortage. This implies that the country is far from achieving it food security goal. Government, through its responses, has made steady progress in the expansion of food production. These responses involve immediate, short term, medium term, and long-term responses. For a long-term response, the government understands that food security means a stock of cereals that meet an unforeseen food crisis. Government policies in response to food security have included a series of immediate short term measures. Non-governmental organizations have also formulated programs that facilitate life-saving emergency responses in Bangladesh. These responses consist of distribution of flattened rice, molasses, clean water, and high-energy biscuits to affected households.
BPRS – Bangladesh’s Poverty Reduction Strategy
FAO – Food and Agriculture Organization
FSC-Food Security Cluster
GOB government of Bangladesh
IFPRI –International Food Policy Research Institute
NBS National Bangladesh Standard
NC -Nutrition Cluster
NCB National Capacity Building
NGOs Non-Governmental Organizations
UN – United Nations
USAID - U.S. Agency for International Development
VAM - Vulnerability Analysis and Mapping
WASH- Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene
WB – World Bank
WFP – World Food Program
Although food security in Bangladesh is a phenomenon, that have been in existence for few decades, the concerns and debate about this issue has just started to gain public interest in the last few years. Media has played a significant role in pushing this issue, an effort that has resulted in political debates and formulation of the BPRS. NGOs and other interested parties have been collaborating with the government and the public to fight against this nightmare. According to the statistics, 70 percent of people living in Bangladesh were facing the food insecurity problem. However, in 2011 efforts made by the government and NGOs has improved the situation to 35 percent of the people facing the food shortage issues. For instance, a WFP country program for Bangladesh was established in the period between 2001 and 2005 to identify the VAM assessments of food vulnerability and security in the country. According to the article published by the BBC in 2008, food crisis in Bangladesh was reflected by the increasing number of the civilian queuing to get the subsidized food products from the government. According to Dummett (2008), food crisis has been linked to other problems in the country such as economic pressure and social unrest.
For over 15 years, food shortage has been a global challenge that needs to be addressed from all perspectives in order to save the human race. The global food shortage has resulted in the increase in the food prices such as lentils, maize, flour, rice and other cereals. This dramatic increase in price has resulted in many families across countries, especially developing countries, face hunger. In Bangladesh, efforts to push for the food security are considered as a potential relief to the millions of the people living in the country. Food security is, therefore, a paramount concern in the country because food plays an essential role in health and nutrition, economic growth, and the political instability in the country. GOB has considered agricultural development program as a fundamental solution alongside with nutrition and food security.
While efforts to increase the agricultural products has been made to increase the food availability, other factors have emerged and consequently subjecting Bangladesh to the food crisis. The emerging challenges in the country include worsening of soil fertility, dramatic population growth, scarcity of natural resources, such as water and land and a variety of crop diseases and pests. Other vital challenges include political factors, climatic change, which is a global phenomenon, and increased poverty level especially in the rural areas (IFPRI n.d.) In January 2014 after the general election the country, food inflation escalated to 9% while the overall inflation increased to 7.4 percent (WFP, 2015)
One of the contributing factors to the Bangladesh Food insecurity is the level of poverty. An approximately of half of the Bangladesh population have inadequate resources to ensure food security and as a result remaining in the poverty cycle. According to Kashem and Faroque(2011), the lower poverty line in the national, rural, and urban areas was 17.60, 21.10, and 07.70 respectively. This poverty line was measured by the cost of basic needs. As a result, Bangladesh has acquired one of the largest hungry global populations by having more than 60 million people suffering from poverty. After China and India, the country is ranked third in terms of the largest poor population, which has been associated with the food shortage. According to the report released by the WB and GoB-UN, 34 percent of the children are being underweight, hence becoming one of the critical cases of malnutrition globally.
Although the country has improved food security for over 35 years, about half of the population is yet to accomplish food security. The current situation also indicates that Bangladesh has food production increase, thanks to the government and non-governmental organizations. For almost past three decades, the country has increased food production to about 40 million metric tons. USAID among other non-governmental organizations has established food security programs in 2014 to reduce the food shortage in Bangladesh. This project helped about 1.7 million farmers to boost their production and trained almost 549,000 farmers about farming technologies (Hasan, 2015). However, the programs have not yet achieved a substantial production that can ensure food security in Bangladesh. Therefore, this calls for collaborative support between Health and Nutrition Division, Poverty, Governance Division, and Development Strategies. It is due to this reason the IFPRI, among other agencies establishing a research on the agricultural development and food security issue in Bangladesh.
Responses and Evaluation
Bangladesh being a home that is densely populated is located in floodplain delta. The country, therefore, experiences natural disasters such as cyclones, drought, and floods (Faisal, & Parveen, 2004). In addition, it is vulnerable to the growing impacts of global climate change. But when faced with hardship, the country, particularly fishers and farmers, is extremely resilient. In the immediate post-independence years, government and some of the international agencies such as FAO, USAID Programs, and WFP have extended a considerable amount of assistance to the country (Food Security Cluster, Nutrition Cluster, & WASH Cluster 2014). The main response was to offer support relief and rehabilitation, as well as enhancing national efforts for economic recovery and reconstruction.
Food security is an essential factor that contributes to the development of the country and socio-economic. Therefore, the government, through its responses has made steady progress in the expansion of food production. Government responses involve immediate, short term, medium term, and long term responses. For a long-term response, the government understands that food security means a stock of cereals that meet an unforeseen food crisis. Government policies in response to food security have included a series of immediate short term measures.
Bangladesh government has applied market and trade policy measures that diminish prices for consumers. The policy has been made effective by releasing food stock to the market as well as providing consumer subsidies. The key objective of this policy was to contain the problem of rising food prices. Moreover, the government has reduced food tariffs and taxes on food prices that have softened the price shocks. The government has also restricted exports and controlled the price as well as restricting private grain trade with an aim of keeping prices low for consumers (Wright, 2011). In long terms responses, the government involves itself in major agricultural developments. The government has been working to improve agricultural production through its technical programs. For instance, transition to irrigated agriculture methods by testing and demonstrating minor irrigation schemes. The government has provided support to the development of fisheries which is the second largest export by strengthening rural pond fish culture extension.
For international agencies, FAO, and WFP, they have imposed time frame for FSC, NC, and WASH Cluster responses. According to these NGO’s immediate response has duration of 1 to 7 days, and life-saving emergency responses consist of distribution of flattened rice, molasses, clean water, and high-energy biscuits to affected households. Also, there are immediate agriculture responses that consist of protecting the surviving livestock in affected regions with shelter, feed, de-wormers, vaccinations, and medicines. In short term, duration of 2-8 weeks, life-saving emergency responses involve unconditional distributions to affected regions and compensation of cash transfers from USAID. Also, FAO and WFP target supplementary feed on pregnant and lactating mothers and children below five years of age. NC ensures that FSC response is nutrition sensitive and specific. While WASH respond with clean water corresponding with National Bangladesh Standards for basic need for cooking and drinking.
In long-term responses, mostly duration of 7-18 months, FSC involves in the longer term rehabilitation to increase security and resilience, therefore, decreasing vulnerability to future disasters. The NGO’s ensures that there is water control structure development, construction of flood protection dams and the development of flood tolerant crop varieties to the regions that are prone to flooding. USAID has training sessions for all farmers on livestock and crop management. NC long-term responses involve health system strengthening, continue support and capacity building of disaster management committees, and provision of the full set of Direct Nutrition Interventions. WASH respond by ensuring there is enough clean water as defined by NBS for all water needs (Food Security Cluster, Nutrition Cluster, & WASH Cluster 2014). Good sanitation as per NBS, one latrine per household and good hygiene as defined by NCB.
Despite the essential efforts made to counter the problem of food insecurity in Bangladesh, majority of the population are yet to enjoy the benefits of food security. The government and non-government institutions should constantly increase the investment in agriculture and other policy that reduced poverty level in the country. In addition, other conditions must be met in order achieve the goal for food security in Bangladesh. These conditions include extensive investment in public and private sector, management, and institutional reforms, inter-ministerial and inter-institutional corporation, GoB-NGO private partnership. It is envisaged in the Food security plan that the population growth and employment re-balancing must be accomplished to secure food shortage in Bangladesh. A strong agricultural plan and strategies remain fundamental to poverty reduction and food security. Therefore, the government has to deal with natural calamities such as flood by coming up with solutions for controlling floods, cyclones and drought.
Expansion of community-based nutrition and natural calamities control program in the affected regions should be considered.
A rapid market analysis should be done by the government and the international agencies which are linked with the food basket price to establish a baseline and provide future monitoring for early warning.
The government and NGO’s should introduce income generating activities for the people of Bangladesh for them to be self-sustaining.
The government and NGO’s should continue training and improving marginal farmers to enhance and improve agricultural production.
Community-based health and nutrition education in Bangladesh should be strengthened as well as monitoring and surveillance of food products in the market.
Proper enforcement of regulations and laws associated with offenders, food safety and quality should be ensured to enhance fair marketplace in Bangladesh.
The government should support and provide policies for agriculture input in Bangladesh.
The government should observe and have control over food price policy which increases the quality and quantity of Programme.
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