There is no alternative to modernising and developing existing kitchen market infrastructure in Dhaka for better food management, said speakers at a webinar.
The Tuesday programme, "The role of fresh food markets in Bangladesh's food system," was in preparation for the first ever United Nations Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) later this year.
The dialogue was co-organised by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Bank, the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), the BSAFE Foundation, British Council's PROKAS, and the Bangladesh Food Safety Authority (BFSA).
John Taylor, chief technical advisor of FAO's Dhaka Food System project, said kitchen markets play a pivotal role in ensuring safe, affordable, and nutritious foods for all. The fresh markets can also help improve the food habits of the poor.
He said, "Low-income people usually cannot afford a nutritious diet, and that inability affects their mental development, productivity, family life, and physical conditions. Kitchen markets are a major food source for all, offering fresh and nutritious items."
Representatives of BFSA, the Department of Livestock Services, Dhaka South City Corporation, the Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection, and the Agriculture Research Council joined the programme.
They discussed market management and supply chains, establishing smart markets for future food systems, food safety and effective market monitoring, supply and demand, market infrastructure, and administrative roles.
They said developing the infrastructure of kitchen markets is a must for establishing a modern market. They also advocated creating separate zones for specific food items.
The discussants highlighted the need for a healthy and hygienic market atmosphere that would be reflected in the products. They said a steady supply of quality products will help improve consumer health too.