A third of Bangladeshis are food-deprived : study

Emran Hossain | Published: 00:00, Dec 13,2017

 
 

At least a third of people in Bangladesh are food deprived, revealed a new study released on Tuesday.
The study, conducted jointly by BRAC University and Leveraging Agriculture for Nutrition in South Asia, an international research partnership, said that one third people in the country consumed less than 1,800 kcal a day.
‘In other words, we can say, a third of our people do not have enough food to eat. They are food deprived,’ said Abdul Bayes while presenting findings from the study at a knowledge sharing seminar at Brac Inn Centre in the morning.
Abdul Bayes, a joint author of the study and director at research and evaluation division of BRAC, said that the country made remarkable progress in food production, but it was not enough.
‘The country’s nutritional status is improving. But we have a long way to go for ensuring nutritious food for all,’ said Bayes.
Asked about food security status in the country given the findings on food deprivation, economist Anu Muhammad said that the real picture could be even worse.
Referring to the latest government survey, Anu Muhammad said that about a fourth of the country’s people are poor and over half of them live below lower poverty line.
‘Poverty restricts their access to food,’ Anu told New Age.
‘And those having access to food are not sure about the quality of food they are eating,’ said Anu Muhammad.
‘There will hardly be any security as long as food is adulterated,’ said Anu.
Asked for his comment, economist Mahbubul Mokaddem said that nutrition-based poverty has always been higher than income-based poverty in the country, indicating a lack of knowledge about nutritious food among people.
Besides raising awareness about nutritious food and balanced diet, the government needs to ensure that foods available for consumption are safe, he added.
According to the newly released BRAC study, which was conducted over five years in 11 districts from 2010-2011 to 2014-2015, the number of overweight population increased by nearly 2 per cent during the study time.
The situation may be the result of people’s dependence on one crop—rice—as the main source of their energy, said the study, emphasizing on diversification of crops and foods.
According to another study, presented at the seminar by International Food Policy Research Institute, 71 per cent of energy comes through consumption of rice in the country and most of the farmers in the country produce only one crop – rice.
The IFPRI study revealed that rice consumption was decreasing among people and the demand for non-rice food was increasing, though at a low pace.
Former director of Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research AM Zakir Hussain, who was present at the seminar, said that a healthy person should have a daily intake of 2,100 kcal to 2,300 kcal.

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