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Call to ensure food and nutrition security of the poor

Speakers at a parallel session on Monday called for ensuring nutrition and food security of the country’s poor people, especially extreme poor, who have been leading an inhuman life due to poverty.

They came up with the remarks while addressing the session, jointly organized by Practical Action, Bangladesh and Concern Worldwide, at Nawab Ali Chowdhury Senate Bhaban of Dhaka University.

Chairperson of the session of Acting Country Director, Practical Action, Bangladesh Dr. Faruk Ul Islam, Additional Secretary and National Project Director, Comprehensive Disaster Management Programme Mohammad Abdul Qayyum, Director, Institute of Disaster Management and Vulnerability Studies Dr. Mahbuba Nasreen, Country Director of Micro-Nutrient Initiative, Bangladesh Dr. SM Mustafizur Rahman, among others, addressed on the occasion.

The session was held today as part of the South Asia Right to Food (SARF) Conference 2015.

The speakers said employment generation in the rural areas can help check the increasing influx of the poor people to the cities. Scope to employment in their respective areas can also ensure food and nutritional security of the poor.

While presenting his key-note paper titled ‘Food Security for the River Eroded Extreme Poor People of the North-Western region of Bangladesh, Head of Extreme Poverty Programme of Practical Action Nazmul Islam Chowdhury said the country’s barren and char lands can be utilized for cultivation, which might increase food production and generate employment.

“There is a vast transitional land, which appears on the river bed each year (estimated 1792 sq. km), and again disappear in the monsoon. This land has been found highly potential and being used for pumpkin cultivation by extreme poor people following pit approach, which has been contributing significantly to their poverty reduction’, he said.

The cultivation greatly assisted the extreme poor in their income generation and food security, said Nazmul.

The tested innovation can be disseminated in river erosion-affected districts across the country to benefit the poor embankment dwellers, he said. “However, government interventions are essentials to take up the potential of transitional land, mainstream in its agricultural extension programme and provide administration arrangement for long term operation access by landless river eroded extreme poor”.

The programme was told that Practical Action, since 2005, has been successful in using the transitional sandbar effectively and demonstrated significant production of pumpkins following pit approach. The pit technology is now spreading to new areas in the northern region.

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