Experts have urged the authority to understand actual vulnerabilities at different localities to develop plans of action and quality public investment for ensuring safe and nutritious food for all.
"Cyclone and salinity is an issue for the coastal areas, heat wave is an issue for the north-western part of the country, while environmental issues are dominating the hill tracts. So, understanding the local vulnerabilities by generating data from the local level is the first priority," said Dr Hossain Zillur Rahman, executive chairman of Power and Participation Research Centre, at a virtual conference titled "Food Systems Summit Independent National Dialogue on Action Track 5: Build Resilience to Vulnerabilities, Shocks, and Stress" on Wednesday.
"The issue that the sea level will rise and submerge different areas is a macro one. We need to address the local vulnerabilities first. Different localities have different types of vulnerability which need different types of action to develop resilience," said Dr Rahman.
Mentioning that the Covid-19 crisis and climate change both are impacting food security, Dr Rahman said, "The Covid-19 crisis has not only reduced the food production, but also increased poverty. Bangladesh has been advancing towards consuming nutritious food instead of just eating something to satiate hunger, but Covid-19 reversed the journey. Milk production has increased but 70% people do not have milk on their dining tables."
"Bigger output should be obtained not only from the big projects, but also from the small programmes. Hence, innovation is important for getting better output" he added.
Emphasising on the quality public investment, he said, "Embankment maintenance is not the coastal villagers' duty. It is the government's duty. So, quality investment is important."
Dr Saleemul Huq, director of International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD), said, "Food safety summit on September this year is very important for Bangladesh. A number of countries will adopt a set of actions with selected solution clusters for next 10 years."
Shamsul Alam, senior secretary of the General Economics Division of the Bangladesh Planning Commission, said, "We need to think about the farmers' problems. We need to think about access to food and availability of food. We have many plans and policies in this regard."
"The Delta Plan 2100 has identified some hot spots and described how to mitigate the adverse climatic impacts. The plans and policies need to be implemented by coordinating them with one another. We can add to the plans and policies and revise them," he added.
Robert Simpson, country representative of Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO); Farah Kabir, country director of Action Aid, Richard Ragan, WFP country representative, secretaries from the Ministry of Food, Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief and the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs spoke at the programme organised by the United Nations World Food Programme (UNWFP), Bangladesh, and ICCCAD.
Different speakers presented the poverty range of the country and how many people have been deprived of food during the Covid-19 crisis. Speakers also expressed concern about newly poor group amid the pandemic.