Food minister Qamrul Islam on Saturday said that the government has decided to provide nutrition fortified rice to 50 lakh poor families through the Vulnerable Group Development Programme.
At the Nutrition Olympiad 2018 at BICC in the capital, he said the rice would be provided at Tk 10 per KG and the programme would cover 2.5 crore people.
The ministry of food, Bangladesh Institute of ICT in Development, Food and Agriculture Organisation, European Union and US-AID jointly organised the programme.
Officials said there would a grain of nutrition fortified rice in each 100 grains of rice and a family would get one kilogram per day.
Food Planning and Monitoring Unit director general under food ministry, M Badrul Arefin, told New Age that the ministry have reached to an agreement with World Food Programme, which would fund the programme.
Currently, the nutrition fortified rice is being distributed through VDG in 32 upazilas in northern districts.
Other areas in the country would be covered soon, food minister Qamrul said at the programme.
He said Bangladesh is now food secured, although the country was predominantly dependent on rice import few years back.
‘Now our plan is to ensure safe and nutrient foods, he said, adding that the prime minister Sheikh Hasina very much keen on safe food and nutritious foods.
Qamrul said Bangladesh achieved Millennium Development Goal in nutrition and hoped that the Sustainable Development Goals would be achieved by 2030.
Speakers at the Nutrition Olympiad said that child malnutrition in Bangladesh has shown marked decline by a third since the mid-90s to the present time, but the levels of chronic malnutrition are still high.
United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization chief technical adviser Naoki Minamiguchi said that still 36 per cent of children are suffering from chronic malnutrition in Bangladesh.
He said 24.5 million people of Bangladesh are malnourished.
Naoki said although Bangladesh achieved food security, the improvement of dietary diversity should be focused now.
Presiding over the function, food secretary Shameema Sultana said the adolescents in Bangladesh are still suffering from malnutrition causing stunting, obesity and thinness.
She said the Nutrition Olympiad, which is participated by mostly youths, would help for knowledge sharing and to demonstrate the potentials of youth engagement in nutrition activities towards improving diets and addressing malnutrition.
The one-day-long Olympiad had a variety of entertaining and engaging activities lined up for youth participants such as healthy recipe competition, food design competition, street play competition, mini essay competition and more.
Some 500 youths of 17 youth clubs across the country participated the Olympiad.
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