The government took the decision to sell nutrition fortified rice at subsidized price to poor families under the Vulnerable Group Development Programme, food minister Food minister Qamrul Islam said Saturday.
Speaking at the Nutrition Olympiad 2018 at BICC in the capital, he said 2.5 crore people of 5o lak poor families would get the benfit.
He said that nutrition fortified rice would be sold to the poor families at the rate Tk 10 per kg.
The Nutrition Olympiad was jointly organized by the food ministry, Bangladesh Institute of ICT in Development, UN Food and Agriculture Organization, European Union and the USAID.
One grain of rice in every 100- grain would be nutrition-fortified, said food officials.
One kg of nutrition fortified rice would be sold to each beneficiary family every day, they said.
Food Ministry’s food planning and monitoring unit director general M Badrul Arefin told New Age that the funding of the programme would be done by the World Food Programme under an agreement it signed with the government.
Now nutrition-fortified rice is sold under the vulnerable group development programme in two upazilas in Kurigram under a pilot project, he said.
The coverage would be extended to another 32 upazilas in northern districts,, he said.
The coverage would be extended across the country soon, said the food minister.
He said Bangladesh has food security now though it had to depend on imported rice only a few years ago.
‘Now our plan is to ensure safe and nutritious food,’ he said.
Qamrul said Bangladesh already achieved the Millennium Development Goal in nutrition and hoped that the Sustainable Development Goals would be achieved by 2030.
Other speakers said that child malnutrition showed decline by one third since the mid-90s but the chronic malnutrition level was ‘still high’.
FAO chief technical adviser Naoki Minamiguchi said that Bangladesh has achieved remarkable progress in ensuring food and nutrition security over the past decades.
‘Despite the critical successes, only one in four children receive minimum acceptable diets,’ he said.
He said that Bangladesh’s child stunting level was still high compared to the WHO threshold.
He said that the situation called for accelerating the decline to 25 per cent by 2020 to meet the targets set by the World Health Assembly.
According to FAO estimates 15.1 per cent of Bangladesh people are chronically undernourished, or 24.4 million people still go to sleep without fulfilling their nutrition requirements every night,’ Naoki added.
Chairing the conclave, food secretary Shameema Sultana said the adolescents in Bangladesh still suffer stunting, obesity and thinness caused by malnutrition.
The daylong Olympiad was rounded up by a number of competitions including healthy recipe, food design, street play and mini essay with the youth as the participants.
The Olympiad drew 500 youths of 17 youth clubs from all over the country.