The number of undernourished people in Bangladesh has increased from 19.9 million in 2004-06 to 20.9 million in 2017-19, the United Nations (UN) said in a report released on Monday.
The prevalence of undernourishment in Bangladesh was 14.3 percent in 2004-06 and 13 percent in 2017-19, according to the global study titled "State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2020."
The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN (FAO), the International Fund for Agriculture (IFAD), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) jointly produced the report.
The report highlighted that public investment in Bangladesh has increased access to markets by strengthening community markets and market-connecting roads, all of which have improved food security and nutrition outcomes of targeted beneficiaries.
According to the report, Bangladesh has decreased the number of severely food-insecure people by almost 3.5 million. The number was 20.7 million in 2014-16 and 17.2 million in 2017-19.
The number of moderately food-insecure people in the country stood at 50.8 million in 2017-19.
SDG 2 unachievable even before pandemic
The Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2 aims to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.
Target 2.1 aims to end hunger and ensure access by all people – in particular the poor and people in vulnerable situations including infants – to safe, nutritious and sufficient food all year round and eradicating all forms of malnutrition by 2030.
Meanwhile, target 2.2 of the SDGs aims to end all forms of malnutrition, including achieving by 2025 the internationally agreed targets on stunting and wasting in children under five years of age, and address the nutritional needs of adolescent girls, pregnant and lactating women, and older persons by 2030.
However, achieving both targets seems quite impossible, the report reads.
People may think the world misguided from achieving the zero-hunger goal due to the Covid-19 outbreak, but the world has already lost its track from achieving the goal, the report adds.
About 2 billion people, or 25.9 percent of the global population, experienced hunger or did not have regular access to nutritious and sufficient food in 2019.
The most recent estimate for 2019 shows that prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, almost 690 million people, or 8.9 percent of the global population, were undernourished.
If this trend follows, the number of undernourished people will exceed 840 million by 2030, the report estimates.
So, the world was not on the track to achieve the goal even without the adverse effects of Covid-19, the report states. However, the outbreak will add at least another 83 million people, and possibly as many as 132 million, to the list of undernourished people in 2020.