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40m poor people suffer from food insecurity: Experts

Govt urged to enact ‘Right to Food Act’

FE Report | April 25, 2019 00:00:00

Around 40 million poor people could not have sufficient food despite the fact that there are several safety net programmes in the country, experts said at a seminar on Wednesday.

Besides, the ultra-poor, mostly the victims of river erosion and natural calamities, who live in slums in urban areas, char lands and haor areas lead an inhuman life, they said.

They called upon the government to enact the 'Right to Food Act' immediately to ensure food for all.

About 20 million ultra-poor and 20 million poor could only manage to have little or a meager amount of food, they said.

The Right to Food Bangladesh (RFB) and ICCO Cooperation jointly organised the seminar titled 'Development Goals of Bangladesh: Right to get Food and Nutrition issues' at CIRDAP auditorium in the city, with Food Minister Sadhan Chandra Majumder as the chief guest.

The food minister said the right to food is a fundamental right of the people and it is the responsibility of the state to ensure food for each and every citizen of the country.

"The country has now achieved self-sufficiency in food and the food security has been ensured," he said.

"Now, we want to ensure people's right to safe and nutritious food," the minister said.

He also said that he will discuss the issue of enacting the Right to Food Act with the high-ups of the government.

Chairman of RFB and Palli Karma Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, who presided over the seminar, said Bangladesh is now on the right track to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

So, it is important for the country to ensure food security for all, he said.

He stressed the need for generating more employment opportunities for the poor, as it has an important link with the income of a family and food requirement.

He hoped that the government would enact the Right to Food Act for the betterment of all.

The Right to Food Bangladesh put forward some recommendations to the government, including allocating sufficient fund in the upcoming budget to ensure food for the poor and ultra-poor in poverty-prone areas and increasing financial allowances and the number of beneficiaries.

It also requested the food ministry to form a committee for drafting the proposed Right to Food Act.

Director General of Bangladesh National Nutrition Council Dr Md Shah Newaz, senior research fellow of Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS) Dr Naznin Ahmed and Prof Khaleda Islam of the Institute of Nutrition and Food Science of Dhaka University attended the seminar.

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