Both hunger and under-nutrition remain serious challenges in Bangladesh despite significant gain in this area, according to a study.
Bangladesh was ranked 7th in 2015, having comparatively better position than that of India and Pakistan, according to Global Hunger Index (GHI) of International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
The IFPRI research said access to food remains a challenge for Bangladesh, although aggregate food supplies and caloric intake have increased. The large poor population is food insecure as people lack resources to access an adequate diet.
IFPRI representative in Bangladesh Dr Akhter Ahmed revealed the research findings at a programme organised by Compact 2025 at a city hotel on Thursday.
According to the study, agricultural growth declined mainly due to decrease in rice production. It was 5 per cent in 2005-2010, but it was almost half (2.7 per cent) in 2010-2015.
On the other hand, fish production and livestock sub-sectors experienced an increased growth rate that was 5.5 per cent and 3 per cent respectively in 2010-2014.
It also mentioned that agricultural wages have increased sharply in recent past. In June 2008, agricultural labourers could buy 4.5kg of rice from a day wage. Rice wage increased to 9kg of rice in June 2014.
IFPRI research also found that women empowerment help people to move out poverty, increase farmers' income, improve household, child, maternal dietary diversity and increase agricultural diversity.
Agricultural diversity improved the household diet quality also, it said, adding that people's frequency of food group consumption increased.
Fruits, legumes, dairy, meat/fish/eggs consumption increased significantly that also indicates the improved nutrition situation of the country's people.
The IFPRI in its research also made some suggestions including examining and improving key policy driving, leveraging agricultural growth, developing national monitoring and evaluation system, improving coverage of key nutrition programme, improving coordination across sectors and engaging media and civil society to increase awareness.