A decade-long plan for achieving the objectives of the National Food and Nutrition Security Policy (NFNSP) was launched today by the Food Planning and Monitoring Unit of the Ministry of Food in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
The NFNSP aims to ensure that Bangladesh achieves its food and nutrition security-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and fulfils national and international commitments. The Government of Bangladesh approved the NFNSP last year. The official Plan of Action unveiled today sets out a timetable of results to be achieved by 2030.
The Honourable Minister, Ministry of Food, Mr. Sadhan Chandra Majumder, MP, presided over the workshop as the chief guest. Dr. Mosammat Nazmanara Khanum, Secretary, Ministry of Food, chaired the event. Special guests included Dr. Md. Ruhul Amin Talukder, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Dr Nahid Rashid, Additional Secretary and Wing Chief (United Nations), Economic Relations Division, Ministry of Finance. Dr. Osagie Christopher Aimiuwu, Deputy Office Director – Feed the Future, Office of Economic Growth, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Ms. Amaia Zabala, Team Leader – Governance, European Commission, Delegation of the European Union (EU) to Bangladesh, and Mr. Robert D. Simpson, FAO Representative in Bangladesh, were guests of honour.
“FAO supported the Ministry of Food to formulate the country’s first ever integrated food and nutrition policy”, said Robert S. Simpson. “This plan of action marks an important step to realising its wide ranging objectives that will help to improve access to safe and nutritious food for all citizens. We are thankful to the European Union and USAID for their continued financial commitment to achieving food and nutrition security in Bangladesh.”
Bangladesh faces considerable food and nutrition security challenges for its current population of around 160 million which is projected to reach more than 186 million by 2030. Emerging trends – including those exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic – comprise increasing income inequality, scarcity of agricultural labour, the adverse impact of climate change on food productivity and barriers to accessing safe and nutritious food. Increasing incomes and urbanisation have led to some dietary diversification, but the rate has remained slow. Yet there are many positive trends. The prevalence of undernourishment declined to 13 percent in 2019 from 21 percent a decade earlier. Child stunting, which reflects chronic malnutrition, has decreased by a third over the last 20 years. The country has broadly achieved self-sufficiency in a number of important foods. Rising incomes and declining incidence of poverty indicate that access to food has also improved over time.
The official Plan of Action presented at today’s event translates NFNSP policy into a framework for implementation, coordination, and monitoring by all responsible ministries, agencies, and other stakeholders. Supporting the five policy objectives are, 17 strategies, 64 areas of intervention, and 275 short to long-term priority actions.
• Prevalence of undernourishment (SDG indicator 2.1.1.): 12 percent by 2025 and 10 percent by 2030 (baseline 13 percent in 2018-19).
• Prevalence of moderate and severe food insecurity in the population, based on the Food Insecurity Experience Scale (SDG indicator 2.1.2): Decreasing over time (baseline: 31.5 percent in 2018-19).
• Prevalence of stunting (height for age among children under 5 years of age (SDG indicator 2.2.1): 20 percent by 2025 and 15.5 percent by 2030 (baseline 30.8 percent in 2017-18).
• Prevalence of wasting among children under 5 years of age (SDG indicator 2.2.2): 7 percent by 2025 and 5 percent by 2030 (baseline 8.4 percent in 2017-18).
The Food Planning and Monitoring Unit, Ministry of Food, formulated the plan with technical assistance from FAO’s Meeting the Undernutrition Challenge (MUCH) project which is funded by USAID and the EU. The plan of action involved five inter-ministerial thematic teams comprised of officials of the planning wings of 18 line ministries/agencies that contribute to ensuring food and nutrition security in Bangladesh. Extensive consultations were held with more than 500 stakeholders and partners that included national and local government, academia, the private sector, non-governmental and civil society organizations.