Food Secuirity In Bangladesh

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Food security in Bangladesh

For Bangladesh food security was synonymous with achieving self-sufficiency in rice production and stabilization in rice prices. The country has made good progress in increasing rice production through technological progress, facilitated by private sector investment in small scale irrigation. But, it is difficult to sustain the progress made in view of the growing pressure of population on scarce land resources. Domestic food grain production remains susceptible to floods and droughts thereby perpetuating the threat of major production shortfalls, inadequate food availability, and vulnerability from fluctuation in prices. The availability of other foods has not increased, and the progress in nutritional outcome has remained slow. Forty percent of the population lives below the poverty line, and income inequality has been worsening.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, food security exists “when all people, at all times, have access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.”

Different kinds and dimensions of food security

Although Bangladesh has achieved considerable progress in domestic food production, poverty-related food insecurity is widespread and prevalent. Data from the last (2005) household income and expenditure survey revealed that more than 40 percent of the population (56 million people) were categorized as “Absolute Poor”, failing to acquire the minimum level of food energy to maintain normal health, defined as 2122 Kcal per person per day. Within this population 27 million people were categorized as “Hard-Core Poor”, failing to acquire 1805 Kcal per person per day, and 11 million were “Ultra Poor”,

failing to acquire 1600 Kcal per person per day<href=”#r6>6. The Hard-Core Poor and Ultra Poor represented just below 20 percent, and 8 percent of the overall population respectively. The prevalence of Absolute Poor, Hard-Core Poor and Ultra Poor had increased from 2000-2005 due to population growth (BBS 2007). There has been a further increase since 2005, due to the rapid rise in food prices and the residual effects of Cyclone Sidr and the 2007 floods. Estimates and details describing the magnitude of the increase are addressed in subsequent sections.

Food insecurity affects both rural and urban households. Of the 56 million people classified as Absolute Food Poor in 2005, 41.2 million resided in rural areas and 14.8 million in urban areas. Of the 27 million Hard-Core Food Poor, 18.7 million resided in rural areas and 8.3 million in urban areas. Of the 11 million Ultra Poor, 7 million resided in rural areas and 4 million in urban areas.

A very important factor in determining food security is to identify the nature of food security problem and it is common to draw a distinction between the chronic and transitory food insecurity. When individuals or groups of people suffer from food insecurity all of the time, then they can be said to suffer from chronic food insecurity. Transitory food insecurity occurs when households face a temporary decline in access to enough food. Transitory food insecurity can be further divided into temporary food insecurity and cyclical or seasonal food insecurity. Temporary food insecurity occurs when sudden and unpredictable shocks, such as drought or flood, affect a household’s entitlements. Famine is the worst form of transitory food insecurity, which can result from one or more causes like, flood, drought, crop failure, market failure, loss of real purchasing power by group of households etc. For urban households, sudden unemployment may also be a cause of transitory food insecurity. Seasonal food insecurity occurs when there is a regular pattern of inadequate access to food. All of these types of disruption to food supplies can trigger crises by threatening a population’s access to food. They are the immediate causes of famine but these precipitating triggers lead to famine only where particular groups of people are already exposed to it.

Bangladesh’s food insecure population has become significantly larger, as a result of the rising food prices. The severity of food insecurity has also worsened. The average food consumption caloric “gap” (the difference between minimum calories needed and actual calories consumed) has become larger, resulting in more severe deprivation. This is a major concern for food security going forward, and presents a substantial challenge to Bangladesh’s social safety net system, and the large population which it serves.

The country’s food insecure population<href=”#r15>15 is now estimated to be 65.3 million; and has risen by 7.5 million (7 496 000) largely because of the impact of higher food prices<href=”#r16>16. Of particular concern is the finding that most of this growth has occurred within the ranks of the more severely food insecure; meaning those below the 1805 kcals/person/day threshold. This undernourished population has grown by 6.9 million; from 27.9 million prior to the impact to a much larger 34.7 million after the shock. In other words, more than ninety percent (92%) of the new food insecure are amongst the more severely food insecure.


On national scale, Bangladesh has obtained food through domestic production, imports and food aid. The first two sources have increased while food aid decreases 7.

The role of food production in food security cannot be overemphasized given the country’s low sufficiency as well a reasonable non-grain sufficiency. Draft National Food Policy and the National Agricultural Policy promote attaining food-grain self- income, recurrent natural calamities and increasing international prices of food commodities. The draft National Food Policy and the National Agricultural Policy promote attaining food-grain self- sufficiency as well a reasonable non-grain sufficiency.


While the accurate determination of food gap is a challenge, lack of access is largely responsible for over 60 million people going hungry everyday. This is primarily due to a lack of purchasing power (poverty), although there are other less central factors with a seasonality and spatial dimension-market access and market functionality along with gender and levels of human assets.


The challenge of nutritional security is much bigger than that of attaining the minimum calories It has the quality and safety aspects which merit greater attention.

Over the last two decades, Bangladesh has achieved steady economic growth coupled with impressive strides in poverty reduction. Food security situation in Bangladesh is improving, especially on the availability side.

Table 1. Bangladesh: Key economic indicators, 2002-2008

2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
Real GDP growth rate (percent) 4.4 5.3 6.3 6.0 6.6 6.4 6.2
Consumer price inflation 3.3 5.7 9.2 7.0 6.8 9.1 8.5
Exchange rate 57.9 58.2 59.5 64.3 68.9 68.9 68.7
Export f.o.b. (USD bn) 1/ 6.1 7.1 8.2 9.3 11.6 12.4 12.6
Import c.i.f. (USD bn)2/ 7.8 9.5 11.2 12.5 14.4 16.7 18.3
Current-account balance (USD m) 0.7 0.1 -0.3 -0.2 1.2 0.8 -0.3
Agriculture, value added (percent of GDP) 24 23 22 21 20 20 20
Rural population ( percent of total population) 76 76 76 75 75 74 74
Population (million) 131.57 133.4 135.3 137.2 139.1 141.1 143.0

In order to understand better the nature and extent of the food security situation and the Possible ways to improving it, it is important to distinguish between food security at the national, local, household and intra-household level. The ultimate goal is to meet the food requirements of the people at all levels. The individual’s age, gender, body size, health status and level of physical activity determine the level of need.

Food security at the national level is determined by the availability of enough resources for the whole population. The most widely used indicators are quantities of available food compared with needs, as well as import requirements compared with the country’s capacity to import.

At the sub-regional levels, food security can be measured by comparing regional nutritional requirements with availability of dietary calories per head. Furthermore, the problem is increasingly being used in terms of seasonal or local level.

At the household level, food security is dependent on a household’s access to enough food. Thus it is closely linked with the issue of poverty, access, sufficiency, vulnerability and sustainability. At the household level, food security is measured by actual dietary intake of all household members using household income and expenditure surveys. It is important that changes in socio-economic and demographic variables be monitored continuously over time.

Food security at the national level is perhaps best described as a satisfactory balance between food demand and food supply at reasonable prices. Food security at national level, i.e., self-reliance in food at the national level does not necessarily mean food security at the household or individual level. Food insecure households will generally be identifiable in regional or socio-economic terms. It is important as a first step in developing an appropriate strategy for enhancing food security to identify the nature and level of food insecurity problems. Although some household problems can be tackled at the national level, and some national level problems will respond to an increase in household entitlements, the interaction between the different levels of food security are critical in devising an effective response. To visualize the role of the government in clear terms it is necessary to develop mechanisms to take background research and analytical exercises and disseminate results. Even when aggregate food supplies are adequate, a number of factors may prevent poor households or individuals from acquiring enough food. Income levels of the poor may be insufficient to enable them to purchase the necessary foods at the prices prevailing in the market. These households may also lack the necessary assets or access to credit to help them get through difficult times. Moreover, they may find themselves outside any public assistance or other program that would provide them with transfers in-kind or as cash to supplement their food acquisition capacity. Poverty and hunger, as we know, are not simply economic problems in the narrow sense, but more importantly it has social and political dimensions as well. Since the market does not care about the food security needs of the food deprived population, the government will have to play the caring role if the objective of ensuring food security of the citizens is to be achieved in Bangladesh because of so high incidence of absolute poverty and un(under)employment.

Moreover, adequate food availability at the household level does not necessarily mean that all members of the household enjoy access to enough food in particular, women and children. Often suffer from inequalities in intra-household food distribution. Protein-Energy-Malnutrition (PEM) describes a spectrum of clinical disorders and is the most important public health problem. However, investigations further suggest that when commonly consumed cereal diets meet energy needs, they meet protein requirements as well. Balanced diet is a food security related problem, which is not directly related with poverty in Bangladesh.

Poverty is the central cause of household food insecurity. The poor do not have adequate means or “entitlement” to secure their access to food even when food is available in local markets. However, depending on factors such as agro-ecological characteristics, access to land, diversity of income sources, and states of development of the economy, food-insecure households can be members of different socioeconomic and demographic groups. A number of common socio-demographic characteristics of the food insecure households can be listed as follows-

Food-insecure households:

Food-insecure households tend to be larger and to have a higher number of dependents.

Access to land:

Ownership of land or access to land for farming has a substantial impact on the food security status of rural households, even when income level is controlled for; the prevalence of food insecurity tends to be higher among landless or quasi-landless households who are more dependent on other riskier sources of income (e.g., wage employment which in a rain-fed agrarian economy depends heavily on seasonality) than farm income;

Women’s income

Women’s income has an impact on the food security status of the household because women-controlled income is more likely to be spent on food and nutrition than male-controlled income; Bad crop year, loss of employment and even civil unrest cause food insecurity.

Food security situation in Bangladesh:

Bangladesh suffered from widespread monsoon floods, followed by a severe cyclone resulting in the loss of an estimated 1.4 million tonnes of Aman rice in 2007. Food security of the country has been significantly and adversely affected by rising food prices. At the request of the Ministry of Agriculture of Bangladesh, a joint FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission visited the country from 14 April to 6 May 2008.


· To estimate/forecast the 2008 Boro rice production and food production situation,

· Assess the food supply and demand situation at national and sub-national levels,

· Market access and impact of high food prices on food utilization in the country at national, sub-national and household levels so that appropriate actions can be taken by the Government and the international community to minimize the impact of potential food crisis/insecurity.


The Mission held meetings with relevant institutions, including Government, international agencies, donors, non-Governmental organizations (NGOs) and the private sector. The Mission reviewed the crop production data from Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) and Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) and collected available data and information on food security from different sources.

The Mission was divided into four groups and visited 37 of the country’s 64 districts, located in all 10 development regions.

The Mission observed crop-growing conditions, examined the import supply situation and the area changes and yields under different categories and different regions. The Mission assessed the impact of the 2007 cyclone and floods on food production and availability in the worst-affected districts. Extensive interviews were conducted with farmers, millers, local Government officers, agricultural research institutes, seed and fertilizer companies and local NGOs regarding short- and long-term food production and supply problems. In addition, telephone interviews were conducted with Government officials in districts that the Mission could not visit and information of local extension offices of MoA was also used for the analysis of rice and other food crop production in these districts.

Extensive interviews

Extensive interviews were also conducted with households in urban and rural areas to obtain information on the impact of high food prices on income, food expenditure and food consumption. The Mission visited customs points along the Indian border and interviewed officers, traders (grain, vegetables, livestock and farm inputs) in Dhaka and Chittagong and local markets, millers and farmers in the fields to obtain first-hand information regarding formal and informal trade in food and agricultural inputs.

Debriefing sessions

Prior to its departure to rural Bangladesh, the Mission held debriefing sessions with Government authorities, UN agencies and other development partners in Dhaka and also debriefed FAORAP in Bangkok.


The Mission estimates a national average Boro rice yield of 3.78 t/ha, an increase of 9.05 percent above the national yield for the previous year of 3.52 t/ha. Rice production is estimated at 17.539 million tonnes, approximately 17 percent above the previous year and 29 percent over the five-year average. Aggregate rice production in 2007/08 (including 2007 Aman, 2008 Boro and Aus) is forecast at 28.849 million tonnes, some 5.6 percent above those in the previous year and 12.4 percent above the five-year average.

Favourable weather

This increase of production was mainly due to favourable weather conditions and extra efforts made by farmers and the Government in response to the high rice prices and production loss of 1.4 million tonnes in 2007 Aman seasons following severe flooding and Cyclone Sidr. Due to damage to transplanted Aman by floods during the last season, farmers planted more area of Boro and inputs received for rehabilitation were used on the Boro crop. The high price of rice in the local market also influenced farmers to cultivate each and every available plot for Boro rice. There was a positive change in some districts to the use of Hybrid Varieties. The main varieties used were BRRI Dhan 29 and BRRI Dhan 28.


There was a small overall increase in the number of irrigation pumps and in irrigation coverage. Three to four instances of intermittent rains also assisted in providing water to the crop. The Mission noted that water is being wasted in some areas due to seepage from earth canals. Pre-cast canals would save considerable amounts of water, but they require considerable investment. The weather was favourable (intermittent rainfall and strong sunshine) throughout the growing season. Though some complaints were received from farmers concerning the shortage of electricity, Government efforts to direct electricity supplies to irrigation were generally successful and this provided irrigation at lower cost to farmers.

This season had a long cool period and wheat yields in 2008 were much improved at 2.584 t/ha compared to 2.053 t/ha the previous year, resulting in production of 955 963 tonnes, an increase of 190 915 tonnes, or almost 25 percent above the previous year’s harvest.

Area of land

The area of land planted to maize has been increasing rapidly in recent years, from 121 962 ha in 2006 to 193 630 ha in 2007 to 342 614 ha in 2008. The crop can be grown throughout the year, but 95 percent is planted in the Rabi season from October to late-December. Production has also increased this year by 85.6 percent to 2 089 945 tonnes at a yield, estimated by the Mission, of 6.1 t/ha.

Availability and utilization domestic rice and wheat

With total domestic rice and wheat availability and utilization assessed at 33.69 million tonnes and 37.26 million tonnes respectively, estimated required imports amount to 3.07 million tonnes. Taking into account the 2.57 million tonnes of commercial imports and the 155 000 tonnes of food aid received so far, there appears a gap of 345 000 tonnes that has to be filled somehow.

There appears to be a surplus of 469 000 tonnes of rice which will be used as a substitute for wheat imports. A similar exercise for wheat reveals a gap of 814 000 tonnes, bringing the deficit for both cereals to 345 000 tonnes after substituted 469 000 tonnes of rice surplus.

Low Cost of food items

Concerning the cost of food items, the surge in rice prices in recent months has been the major cause for concern. Whole and retail prices of local coarse rice, the nation’s major food staple, have increased by 78 and 82 percent respectively, from June 2007 to June 2008, with the fastest acceleration –38 percent (wholesale) and 36 percent (retail) – occurring between October 2007 and March 2008.

Stability in food prices

This increase in rice prices is attributable to both internal and external factors. At the domestic level, severe floods that swamped large tracts of agricultural land in August and September 2007, and particularly Cyclone Sidr that hit the country the on 15 November caused extensive devastation to crops. Rising costs of key inputs such as fertilizers have also fuelled the rice price hike.

Stop in Price hikes

The consumer on a low-fixed income is bearing the brunt of price hikes. This indicates the need for expanded social safety nets to include those falling back into severe food insecurity and the poverty trap. Such programmes should be extended to villages that have suffered crop failure this season.

Food insecure population

Bangladesh’s food insecure population has become significantly larger, as a result of the rising food prices. The severity of food insecurity has also worsened. The average food consumption caloric “gap” has become larger, resulting in more severe deprivation. This is a major concern for food security going forward and presents a substantial challenge to Bangladesh’s social safety net system and the large population which it serves. The country’s food insecure population is now estimated to be 65.3 million people; and has risen by 7.5 million largely because of the impact of higher food prices. Similarly, the size of the severely food insecure population has grown by an estimated 6.9 million; up from 27.9 million to a present level of 34.7 million. As a result, nearly half (45 percent) of the country’s 145 million population is now food insecure (< 2122 kcals/person/day), and nearly one-quarter (23.9 percent) of the population is understood as severely food insecure (consuming less than 1 805 kcals/person/day).

Safety net programmes

Due to the rise in food prices and other basic essentials, the GoB has announced a significant expansion of food security oriented safety net programmes in 2008/09. This was highlighted by many high-level GoB officials, including the Finance Advisor, in public addresses associated with the launching of the new fiscal-year 2008-09 GoB budget. The Mission estimates that approximately 68 million individuals would receive support from the GoB food assistance safety net programmes; under the assumption that the plan will be implemented (i.e. targets will be reached); implying 37.5 million people more than the 30.5 million estimate associated with fiscal year 2007-08.

Government assistance

Estimating the total number of individuals receiving assistance, through non Government programmes that have an explicit emphasis on facilitating food access, is problematic due to the large number of organizations involved, and more specifically because of data availability constraints. The Mission estimates that as many as 8.1 million people could be receiving assistance designed to address the food access gaps from non Government channels in 2008/09. The 8.1 million number represents about 12.4 percent of the estimated 65.3 million food insecure population. The slightly improved current Boro season production does not fully compensate for the heavy losses some farmers suffered in the previous Aman season in the south and east of the country hit by the category 4 Cyone Sidr. The Mission estimates the aggregate 2008 rice output of Boro season of the nine affected districts at about 1 million tonnes, some 89 200 tonnes above or 10 percent higher than average. However, this increase is much smaller than the crops lost during Aman season (352 400 tonnes). The aggregate 2007/08 rice production in the flood and Cyclone Sidr affected districts is expected to be at 2.02 million tonnes, some 276 000 tonnes or 12 percent below average. Agriculture assistance, including seeds, fertilizers and tools in the worst-affected districts, and food aid/assistance programmes of WFP to vulnerable households of more than 1.5 million people will continue to be needed to the end of the year.

Rapid increase in the planting of hybrid varieties

The rapid increase in the planting of hybrid varieties played a part in raising overall yields and production, but much remains to be done to ensure that farmers have access to seed of the highest genetic potential for their conditions.

Government and donor-supported Participatory Water Management Schemes have shown the way to better use of irrigation water and improved land management, especially in new lands in the south of the country.

Shortages of fertilizers

Shortages of fertilizers, particularly TSP and MOP at planting time limited crop yields. It is absolutely essential, despite doubling or tripling of world fertilizer prices in 2008, that adequate quantities of all fertilizers are procured and distributed for the next cropping season. The recent cyclone in Myanmar and the Sidr in Bangladesh underlines the need for national preparedness for such extreme weather events and for climate change risk.

Current Food Security and Challenges

Food security situation in Bangladesh has improved, especially on the availability side4, and further improvements on access and utilization, to be sustainable and large-scale, needs renewed efforts from the government, civil society (including media) and the development partners. Records say in 70s’, 70% people were under the food consumption poverty line. Today this is down to under half of the population. Today, though people are not dying, they are going hungry and becoming stunted with reduced mental and physical capacity. They are suffering. The hungry population of over 60 million people is larger than most other global cases- the third largest poor population in any country after China and India. Nearly half of Bangladesh’s children are underweight, making it one of the most severe cases of malnutrition in the world. While Bangladesh has definitely got more food than it had thirty years back, yet almost half of Bangladesh is still far from being food secure. The World Bank and GoB-UN in their respective reports on MDGs, put the target of 34% children being underweight as non-attainable at present rates of progress. Much will need to be done to achieve the 2015 MDG target of halving the proportion of people who suffer from hunger and malnutrition. Demographic changes in upcoming years are likely to affect poverty and hunger in adverse ways.

Achieving the MDG targets within the next decade will require Bangladesh to develop and implement more ambitious and effective strategies. Speeding up per capita income growth and pursuing targeted safety net programs are needed for the expansion of household food intake.

A comprehensive program to address hunger would include interventions in the following areas:

· Domestic food production: Promoting food security by sustaining strong growth of domestic food production and implementing a liberalized regime for food imports

· Designing and implementing interventions: Designing and implementing interventions to promote food security.

· Safety nets for protection: Supporting safety nets for protection against natural disasters.

· Change in food habits: Promoting change in food habits for increasing nutritional intake of vulnerable.

· Improved infant feeding practices: Promoting improved infant feeding practices, including breast-feeding practices.

· Maternal schooling and Hygienic practices: Supporting maternal schooling and hygienic practices.

· Access to safe drinking water: Improving access to safe drinking water, especially by addressing the threat of arsenic contamination of underground water.

· Access to sanitation: Improving access to sanitation.

· Access to basic health facilities: Improving access to basic health facilities.

· Promoting partnership: Promoting partnership among the Government, private sector and NGOs.

Reason behind the food Insecurity/Security problem

Technical problems:

Some of the persisting problems of-

· Increasing crop production, particularly cereal production using the available HYVs decreasing soil productivity,

· Inefficient water and fertilizer use

· Inadequate supply of quality seeds

· Imbalanced use of fertilizer

· Low labor productivity and higher input price

These factors are restricting realization of full yield potential of HYVs, resulting in lower yield of cereals in the farmers’ field compared with much higher yield obtained in the research station. The major concern is how to reduce this yield gap by improving soil, water and labor productivity, optimizing fertilizer use and reducing input price. Declining land resources and competing demand for limited land is a major concern for future agriculture.

New technological breakthrough, appropriate development interventions and a robust land use policy will be needed to address the problems.

Policies/Interventions in Place

The Ministry of Agriculture has prepared a comprehensive agricultural policy in 2004 and started implementing the policy to address the problems of improving land, water and labor productivity by promoting balanced use of fertilizer, small scale mechanization, quality seed production, irrigation interventions in drought-prone areas, crop diversification, and improving water use efficiency and supply of agricultural inputs.

These interventions are currently made through 19 development projects. Some of the institutional problems and issues are also being addressed by MOA with own resources, and efforts are being made to address the others that will require external funding. The World Bank is actively considering assistance in strengthening the agro-technology system; and JICA is reviewing the need for strengthening the Central Extension Resources Development Institute through reorganization and redefining its charter. The process of strengthening the Seed Wing of BADC and revitalizing the Seed Certification Agency is on-going.

Project Implementation Problems

Implementation of development project is not satisfactory in all cases. The Finance Minister himself expressed dissatisfaction with the overall progress of implementation of the development projects. There are problems, but they cannot be generalized. Some problems are project-specific. Some of the common problems are highlighted in this report. Delayed commencement of project implementation due to administrative and procedural problems, procurement and staff recruitment problems, delayed recruitment of consultant, frequent transfer of project Directors and cost overrun are some of the general problems affecting project implementation. Weak organizational capacity of the line departments and low implementation capacity in terms of technical knowledge and managerial skills is also a major problem. In most cases, program planning at the local level, including preparation of work plan, site selection and organization of, say, demonstration and training program is poor.

Number of people affected, levels of deprivation, food consumption gap

Even prior to the shocks of 2007-08; a relatively large segment of Bangladesh’s poorest and most food insecure households had food consumption levels well below international norms associated with food security. The Government of Bangladesh and more specifically, the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) uses a calorie consumption level of 2122 kcals/person/day, as a minimum consumption threshold to define food security. This threshold is similar to the threshold of 2100 kcals/day, adopted by the international humanitarian community.

Using data from the GoB BBS HIES 2005 household income and expenditure survey; and more recent analysis by the Mission the food/calorie consumption gap of poor and food insecure households is examined for two relevant time periods:

· First for the period beforethe population was exposed to the setbacks and shocks of 2007-08 (floods, Cyclone Sidr, and the food price rise), and

· Secondly for the recent period, after the exposure to these shocks.

Prior to the 2007/08 shocks an estimated 57.8 million individuals in Bangladesh were below the food consumption threshold of 2 122 kcals/person/day. This represented just over 40 percent (40.4%) of the nations’ population. Within this group, an estimated 27.9 million people fell below the more severe poverty line food consumption threshold of 1 805 kcals/person/day. The latter represented about one fifth (19.5%) of the entire population. Within Bangladesh this group is commonly referred to as the “hard-core” poor.

The main food access challenge for low and even middle income is the rise in food prices. Rice and other food commodity prices have been rising since early 2007, but rose more rapidly between late 2007 and the first four months of 2008. Prices decreased moderately in May-June after the April peak. However as of late August; prices have risen again higher than the previous April peak.

Food Aid and Food Security Policy of Bangladesh Government

Bangladesh, being one of the most food insecure countries of the world, has received P.L. 480 Title II food assistance since 1972.

· During the first three years (1972-74) of the Title II program in Bangladesh, food aid was almost exclusively emergency assistance, helping the GOB feed people displaced by the nine-month war of independence. The subsequent programs, implemented by CARE into the mid-nineties, consisted of food for work programs, primarily earth moving for road and canal rehabilitation.

· CARE’s Integrated Food for Development Program (1994-99) reflected a shift towards development on the relief-to-development continuum, with approximately 70% of the Title II resources undergoing demonetization, to fund larger scale, higher quality rural infrastructure.

· The current CARE program (1999-2004) is 100% monetized, which enables CARE to implement a wide array of developmental activities such as low cost paved rural roads, flood proofing, urban slum development, local government capacity building and training, and disaster management.

There are three distinct variables are central to the attainment of food security

1) Availability,

2) Access, and

3) Utilization.

Food security is dependent upon:

  • Agricultural production,
  • Food imports and food aid,
  • Employment opportunities and income earnings,
  • Intra-household decision making and resource allocation,
  • And health and nutrition care utilization and caring practices.

It is a multi-dimensional development topic that requires cross-sectoral integrated interventions.

Poverty alleviation is a core challenge for Bangladesh. Because of poverty, malnutrition is a fundamental problem. To reduce poverty in Bangladesh, it is crucial to develop and improve the capacities of its most vulnerable populations and regions. For this,

§ Bangladesh needs to accelerate the growth and productivity of its agriculture and non-farm sectors,

§ Improve the quality of social services,

§ Ensure proper functioning of its community and rural institutions and expand the rural support infrastructures.

Poverty and lack of social services leave a significant portion of the Bangladesh population hungry and malnourished.

USAID Program for Bangladesh

To alleviate these problems, USAID focuses its resources on long-term sustainable development. USAID has been taken several programs like:

§ Within a framework of law and USG policy and interests, USAID invests in people and processes, and promotes policies and institutional environments which attack the primary basic cause of food insecurity and hunger – namely, poverty, especially in rural areas.

§ Program foci for improving food availability, access, and utilization include closing the seasonal food gap through improved storage, small-scale post-harvest transportation, crop diversification (but not at the expense of food crops), expanded market opportunities, and on overcoming household cash flow and liquidity constraints.

§ In addition, improved food utilization includes such areas as basic education, maternal and child health, control of infectious diseases, crop and food diversification activities and improvements in water and sanitation.


· A Host Country Food for Peace Agreement is required. Regulation 211.3 stipulates the requirement of Host Country Food for Peace Program Agreement. This agreement establishes the terms and conditions needed by a nongovernmental Cooperating Sponsor to conduct a Title II program in the host country in accordance with the applicable requirements of Regulation 211. Express reference to, and incorporation of, Regulation 211 is required in the Host Country Agreement.

· The proposal shall include direct distribution commodity component(s).

· The Mission strongly encourages monetization through private channels rather than the existing procedure through the government. Experience has shown that monetization through the Government of Bangladesh is a lengthy, time consuming, and often frustrating process which hinders the timely transfer of sales proceeds to project accounts.

· In countries where multiple DAPs are anticipated, joint monetization by cooperating sponsors is encouraged to minimize workload and accrue program efficiencies.

· Each DAP should include a disaster component which would include the capacity building of local NGOs, governmental bodies and local communities.

· The Bangladesh Mission believes that PVO cost sharing is an important element and demonstrates a partner’s commitment to the program in Bangladesh. USAID expects applicants to demonstrate a commitment to program success by proposing an appropriate and meaningful level of cost sharing.

· Effective partnering can increase efficiency and effectiveness, scale of coverage, transparency, sustainability of service delivery, and programming scope. Partnering with other organizations such as local NGOs, GOB Ministries, research institutions, governmental bodies and universities expands community participation, ownership and control and improves the development process. Therefore, partnering with local indigenous NGOs, local elected bodies, and relevant government agencies is strongly encouraged.

· Promoting stakeholder participation in the design and implementation of the program activities is encouraged. Use of Participatory Learning and Action techniques are important to bring together residents and leaders from the community, government officials, representatives of local entities, local NGOs to expand stakeholder participation, foster ownership, promote long-term maintenance assurances, and promote sustainability.

· Cooperating Sponsors must work closely with their partners, prospective stakeholders and beneficiaries to fully demonstrate in their proposals that all activities take into consideration the prospective impact of their respective interventions in a gender accountable manner.

· Full, equitable, and appropriate participation, training and empowerment of women and men must be apparent throughout all program elements of the DAP. Gender sensitivity in staffing, training and decision making is to be given emphasis throughout the proposal.

· The Title II program should be designed to help achieve the Mission’s goal of improving the food security of the most vulnerable groups. The geographic strategy used in programming should allow for the targeting of the most needy beneficiary groups.

· To achieve a tangible program result a holistic approach is necessary. It is recommended that programs consider a carefully focused range of complementary activities to accelerate improvements to the food security of the target population.

· Appropriate food utilization is critical to the achievement of improved food security in Bangladesh. The direct food distribution component(s) of the DAP should reflect a balanced diet package as opposed to the sole distribution of food grains.

· Linkages with other USAID funded projects and partners (such as “Improving Wheat, Maize and Papaya Production and the Impacts of Arsenic Contamination implemented by CIMMYT, and “Agro-based Industries and Technology Development Project II (ATDP II)” implemented by Louis Berger, is encouraged

Although Bangladesh appears to be approaching aggregate national cereals self-sufficiency, an estimated 32 million plus people cannot afford a daily intake of more than 1800 kilo calories.


Due to the frequency of disasters, primarily annual flooding and occasional cyclones typically accompanied by high tidal surges, people in many rural areas remain ultra poor and are trapped by their poverty.

Related contributing factors include the lack of reliable and regular income sources, with the majority of the rural population landless and reliant upon income from unpredictable employment.

Insignificant economic activity in most areas further contributes to poverty and thereby affects community livelihoods and food security.

The geographic areas generally identified as most food insecure include the following:

Policy and planning focus:

In order to support effective and equitable agricultural and rural development, policy makers and planners in Bangladesh need to:

§ Collect gender-disaggregated local data and conduct a gender-sensitive agricultural census that incorporates estimates of women’s unpaid family labour;

§ Formulate agriculture and house-hold food security policies that are gender-sensitive and address women’s role in the food sector through both farm and non-farm production;

§ Formulate policies and plans to provide both rural women and men with access to and control over resources, particularly land, as well as direct access to food programs and basic literacy; and

§ Formulate technology research and transfer to meet women’s technology needs in homestead production

Programme focus

Agricultural and rural development programmes in Bangladesh need to include the following areas of intervention in order to address both rural women’s and men’s priorities:

  • train field staff in gender-sensitive and participatory planning and programme implementation that are culturally acceptable;
  • support women’s work in farm and homestead production instead of merely viewing them as wives of male farmers;
  • strengthen the extension system to be gender-equitable to ensure its effectiveness;
  • identify and respond to women’s agricultural and household needs for technology in close collaboration with among researchers, implementing agencies and grassroots workers;
  • support women in their home-based post-harvest production and marketing activities by providing local market information and linkages, improving transportation and storage facilities, improving processing and packaging techniques, enhancing credit facilities;
  • launch adult literacy programmes and credit use capabilities with particular focus on women;
  • establish monitoring systems for these programmes;
  • incorporate specific credit, seed production, nutrition education syllabi for NGO/GO training;
  • provide women with training in crop and horticulture production, post-harvest operations, poultry and small livestock rearing, and fisheries production and processing;
  • provide women with credit for agroforestry activities in order to benefit optimally from the social forestry programme

Aria include government steps

Beside this the government has taken different area and situation base steps for removing the food security problem in Bangladesh-

Coastal belt:

· Construction of embankments and protected areas, including tree plantation and maintenance, to afford both protection from the effects of tidal surges and provide income generation from care-taking and appropriate utilization of the trees;

· Mobilization, training and assistance to fisherman groups;

· Construction of multipurpose cyclone shelters and killas (elevated areas used as shelters for cattle and household assets) including their use as schools/vocational training centers, women’s training centers, fish processing center/markets/etc. The shelters should have necessary and appropriate water & sanitation facilities and access roads and there should be assurances of community ownership and ongoing maintenance by the users.

· Rehabilitation and maintenance of roads, building and/or maintenance of boat landing facilities/jetties;

· Agricultural production enhancement through the introduction of diversified crops, vegetables, fruit trees, poultry, cow/buffalo rearing, milk processing, fish processing, fish hatcheries, etc.;

Reverie Areas:

· Rehabilitation assistance for families affected by river erosion including housing in khas (government owned lands), and the creation of income generating opportunities;

· Flood proofing activities in the char and related areas to protect inhabitants unprotected by embankments;

· Construction of flood-shelter (and killas)-cum-school/market/training centers;

· Alternative income generation through increased agriculture productivity including cattle rearing, poultry, fish culture, vegetable and seasonal fruits, etc.;

· Mobilization, training and assistance to fisherman groups;

· Construction /rehabilitation of markets including access roads;

Haor and Beel Areas:

· Mound (raised villages in the flood plain/haors) extension and plant-based wave erosion protection;

· Submersible embankment construction and maintenance to protect crop damage from flash flooding;

· Construction of flood shelter (and killas)-cum-school/market/training centers;

· Alternative income generation through increased agriculture productivity including cattle rearing, duck rearing, poultry, fish culture, crop extension, vegetable and seasonal fruits, etc.;

· Rehabilitation and maintenance of boat landing facilities/jetties;

· Mobilization, training and assistance to fisherman groups;

· Development of fish sanctuaries in coordination with fisheries department and local administrations;

Access to Food objectives linked to strategies and activities

The long and short-term objectives and strategies of Access to Food are as follows:

Long-run Access to Food:


Access to Food strategy aims, over the long run, to achieve overall food security – that is, access by all citizens to an adequate intake of food


Access to Food requires action on two fronts.

First is assurance of a continuous, low-cost food supply.

Second is an income distribution that places adequate purchasing power in the hands of the poor.


Bangladesh aims to ensure an affordable food supply by prompting efficiency in production, distribution and trade. Efficient domestic production will require sustained investment in agricultural research, extension of new technologies, and unconstrained access by farmers to productivity – enhancing inputs such as fertilizer, pesticides and irrigation equipment. Efficiency in distribution will require access to trade credit by private traders, removal of legal impediments grains. To increase incomes of the poor will require sustained employment generation economic growth.

Short-run Access to Food


Periodically consumers face acute nutritional stress because of natural disasters, weather-induced variability in production, and consequent fluctuations in both income and food prices. So, as a

First short run objective, Access to Food strategy aims to smooth this short run fluctuation in food Consumption.

Second, it aims to support from prices in periods when prices fall below a level Deemed necessary to sustain production incentives.


Access to Food Strategy aims to protect consumers and producers from short-run fluctuations through the following actions:

· Security stocks and disaster relief ;

· Targeted relief for vulnerable; and

· Price stabilization, to protect farmers and consumers from abnormal seasonal price movement.

ACCESS TO FOOD: Objectives, Strategies, Instruments and Activities

Objectives Strategies Instruments Activities
Long run1. Access to


food by all

a. Assure low-costfood supply 1) Private food imports2) Increased farm


3) Assured input


4) Agricultural trade


5) Sustainable Agricultural


through introduction

of new technology

-Remove restrictions (MoC, NBR, MoF)- Invest in agricultural research and

Extension (MOA)

– Deregulate input supply (MoA, MoI,


-Expand production credit (BB, MoFin.)

– Introduction of yield enhancing

Technologies (MoA)

– Export oriented agricultural development (MoA)

b. Increasepurchasing

power of the


1) Employment generatingeconomic growth in farm

and non-farm sector

2) Support to processing

and trade

3) Fiscal and monetary


– Focus investment in labour-using sectors(MoI/PC)

– Infrastructure development (MoC,


– Low cost and uninterrupted energy supply


– Easy access to credit and fiscal incentive (MoFin, BB)

Short run1. Smooth


In food


a. NationalSecurity stock 1) Private stocks2) Government security


– Remove restrictions (MoC, MoF, MoLaw)- Ensure credit (BB, MoFin)

– Promote storage facilities (BB, MoFin,


– Monitor private stocks (MOF)

– Identify requirements (MoF)

– Hold in likely distress areas (MoF)

– Distribute during disasters (MDMR, MoLGRDC)

Affect of food security programme

· Poverty Reduction :

While all the food programmes aim to help the poor, they vary considerably in their specific objectives, and also in their effectiveness in accomplishing the desired objectives.

· Actual need fulfilment

An important indicator of the effectiveness of the short- run relief programme is the speed at which resources are delivered to the people who are actually in need.

· Achieving more benefit:

An important dimension of analyzing performance of food programmes is to perform cost-effectiveness analysis. The cost of running the programmes and the benefits received by the target households depend to a large extent on the methods in which the programmes are implemented. In that case BD food security has become successful, that means the benefit of household is higher than the cost of the programme.

· Achieving economic growth:

Over the last two decades, Bangladesh has achieved steady economic growth coupled with impressive strides in poverty reduction.

Low Cost of food items

Stability in food prices

Stop in Price hikes

Consumption caloric “gap” has become larger

Shortages of fertilizers

Increase in the planting of hybrid varieties

Key factors behind such progress include

· Different food-related organization:

Different government and non-government food-related organization are providing a important contribution on the food programme assistance programme.

· Non-farm employment opportunities:

Non-farm Expansion of non-farm employment opportunities, such as in the ready-made garment industry (RMG).

· Labour facilities:

Temporary labour migration and related remittances which in 2006 amounted to USD 5.48 billion, representing 11 percent of GDP and 35 percent of export earnings.

· Direct investment programme:

Foreign direct investment (FDI) as well as private domestic investment spurred by a relatively conducive business investment climate.

· Development of micro-credit programme:

The development of micro-credit by the Grameen Bank which is essentially owned by, and caters to, the poor. Its network of services extends to about 76 000 villages across the country and 96 percent of its 7 million borrowers are women.

· Social safety and poverty reduction programmes:

Social safety nets and other specific poverty reduction programmes such as the Vulnerable Group Development (VGD) which focuses on improving the nutritional status of the poorest rural women and their children.

· Green Revolution technology :

Green Revolution technology in rice and wheat (improved seeds, expansion of irrigation, and increased use of fertilizer) has enabled Bangladesh to reduce the national level “cereal gap” between a per capita availability target and net domestic production.

Estimating food security assistance needs for 2008-09

· For the 9.3 million food insecure population outside of current social safety net coverage; the Mission estimates that approximately 336 000 tonnes of food would be required for fiscal year 2008-09 to meet minimum consumption needs at 2122 kcals/person/day.

· The estimate of 336 000 tonnes factors in a 24 percent targeting inclusion error, as well as a 15 percent loss for ration size leakages.

· Causes can include discrepancies between actual resources available at the time of distributio