Bangladesh has made commendable progress in domestic food grain, especially rice production due to rapid dissemination of HYV technology. However, while Bangladesh has experienced steady progress in food availability, the country faces a number of persistent and emerging challenges. Future agricultural growth and food as well as nutrition security are threatened by population growth, shrinking resource base (such as land and water) and the deterioration of their quality and productivity.
Moreover, the adverse impacts of climate change compounded by minimal investments in agricultural research and deteriorating extension services are likely to exacerbate the problem of food and nutrition security in the coming decades. In fact, whatever progress has been made would be difficult to sustain in view of the growing pressure of population on scarce natural resources.
In the wake of global food crisis that originated from exorbitant prices of cereals, fuel and fertilisers, Bangladesh as a net food importing country experienced severe food insecurity at both the national and the household level. It was realised that both domestic production system as well as the existing food procurement, storage and distribution system needed strengthening to address the problem of food insecurity, especially for those who are most vulnerable.
The present paper examines the past trends, the present status and the evolving policies related to availability, accessibility and utilisation of foods to those who need them most. This provides an appropriate setting which, would enable us to identify the existing policy gaps, policy options and public sector interventions through various programs to ensure food security in the country.
Food availability and domestic production of food crops
Availability of food depends on both domestic production and imports. Major items of food production in Bangladesh include rice, wheat, potato, pulses, oilseeds, sugarcane and vegetables. These food items...