Tuesday, November 3, 2009: 10:40 AM
Convention Center, Room 301-302, Third Floor
Bangladesh is extremely important for food security, employment and livelihoods. It includes crop, horticulture, livestock, fisheries and forestry. Currently the sector contributes around 20% of GDP and employ’s more than 70% of the population. The country has about 150 million (926 persons / Km2) people. Rice is the staple food and covers 79.4% of the cropped area, while wheat is grown on about 4% of the cropped land. Fisheries and livestock also play dominant roles in the country’s food security. In Bangladesh poverty-related food insecurity is widespread and prevalent. More than 40 percent of the population is categorized as “Absolute Poor” and fail to acquire the minimum level of food energy to maintain normal health. As a result of the recent rapid rise in food prices, combined with the effects of Cyclone Sidr and floods, the poverty situation has further deteriorated. Food insecurity affects both rural and urban households, and especially females. In order to increase food security there is an urgent need to enhance agricultural productivity and at the same time increase food security safety net (SSN) assistance programs by the Government. Biotic and abiotic problems, including the impact of climate change on food production and food security, must be addressed and the USA and other developed countries may consider special assistance in order to increase agricultural productivity and improve food security. The priority areas are: technology generation for unfavorable areas; development of hybrid rice and heat tolerant wheat and maize; (subsidies to promote) balanced fertilizer use; modernization of the irrigation infrastructure; assistance to maintain the salinity front and increase irrigation coverage; improvement and modernization of the public food stock capacity; food diversification and fortified foods to address micronutrient related malnutrition; and more investments in agricultural research, extension and agribusiness.