The scenario of Food Security in Bangladesh
Bangladesh is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. According to the 2019 revision of the World Population Prospects, the population stood at 161,376,708 in 2016. The eighth-most populated country in the world with almost 2.2% of the world's population. In Bangladesh, despite some impressive development in recent years, several concerns remain. For a nation on the brink of development, food security is an absolute must. Food security and adequate nutrition are among the basic needs of every human being. A large number of people remain under the threat of food insecurity and hunger in Bangladesh, and most people do not have a sufficiently nutritious and diverse diet. More than one in three children under five years of age are stunted – an indicator of chronic malnutrition has not decreased significantly over many years. On top of this, there are emerging concerns with food security and nutrition as a result of socioeconomic and climate change.
The international community often uses the term food security to describe not only the availability of food but the ability to purchase food. It means not only a reliable source of food but also adequate resources to purchase it. Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to enough safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy lifestyle. Food security globally depends primarily on three components: food availability, food access, and food utilization.
So, when we talk about food security status in Bangladesh, we need to keep in mind that food security is not only about food production but also making sure that it is affordable for all kind of people in the society. At the same time making food affordable is no less important issues than the challenge of producing food for the people. Agricultural sustainability depends on four pillars. Productivity, environmental stability, economic profitability, and social and economic equity.
The staple food of most people in Bangladesh is rice and more than 70 percent of their daily calories come from rice. The production of rice was assumed to be tripled over the last 30 years. Bangladesh has made remarkable progress in producing wheat, potatoes, vegetables, and fish.
Fish contribute a significant amount of animal protein to the diets of people in Bangladesh, about 63% of which comes from aquatic animals. In Bangladesh, fish is mainly derived from two sources: capture and culture. Nutrient-rich small fish are produced in aquaculture systems alongside large fish in a practice known as polyculture so that several species are raised in the same pond. The large fish can be sold for income, while small fish are harvested regularly for household consumption or, when in excess, for sale. Farmers can increase total yields while also improving the nutritional quality of their production systems. One small fish, known as mola, is an exceptional source of vitamin A, and including it in polyculture systems is a cost-effective strategy for alleviating vitamin A deficiency. Aquaculture has shown tremendous growth in the last two decades, exhibiting about 10% average annual growth in production. Some other food items, including fruits, vegetables, and oils. Such a low level of consumption does have certain health implications, particularly in the case of women and children.
Despite making tremendous success in food production, Bangladesh is still experiencing limited access to sufficient food. land distribution inequalities led to people’s disproportionate access to food. Price hikes and market instability have worsened the condition of the households and affected their food access.
Besides, the full cycle of food production is equally important. Maintaining proper hygiene and sanitary practices are important. Unless foods are produced safe, consumers would remain exposed to unsafe food. This is a public health concern. Food can be contaminated and adulterated at any stage of production, marketing, preserving and distribution cycle. Maintaining the hygiene of food also very important to make sure food security.
Yet the country needs to produce more fish, meat, milk, and eggs to meet its ever-increasing demand. Need some more scientific research to increase investment to sustain productivity growth in technology, infrastructure and institutions, environmental services and sustainable resource management. Private sectors need more support to increase their production. Hopefully, the government would ensure this. It is now more or less obvious that the future of protein supply would be largely dependent on cultured fish and poultry farming. Stability in food availability, food access, food utilization including nutrition and food safety are crucial factors in food security. Therefore, it is highly important to retain a stable condition in the food market chain and food supply. The land distribution policy should be more agriculture and farmer oriented. NGOs should also address the challenges regarding food security, especially for the landless and poor people who reside in the rural suburbs of Bangladesh. The scientists should carry out nutritional studies to improve the health situation of people in this country. The government should conduct programs on food security for the poor and women in rural areas. Investment in rural infrastructure, agricultural research, and public services, as well as efforts to improve governance systems and institutions are necessary to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 2 to “end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture” by 2030.