Bangladesh last in South Asia according to Global Food Security Index 2020

Bangladesh last in South Asia according to Global Food Security Index 2020
01 March 2021
AUTHOR: Anwar Ali

A farmer examines rice in a paddy field near a farmhouse in Dhaka district, Bangladesh. File photo: Reuters

As it's happening around the world, Bangladesh's overall food security situation has deteriorated for the second year in a row -- mainly due to poor performance in ensuring dietary diversity, good use of natural resources and implementing climate-smart agriculture.

Bangladesh stood 84th among 113 countries across the globe and the last among South Asian nations according to the ninth annual Global Food Security Index (GFSI) published online on February 23.

The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) with sponsorship of Corteva Agriscience released the GFSI 2020.

Beginning from 2012, the EIU has been publishing the GFSI considering the categories -- food affordability, availability, quality and safety. This year it has also included 'Natural Resources and Resilience' as a category.

GFSI aims to guide the nations on systemic gaps of food security issues and most recently, raise awareness about how Covid-19 impacts on food systems.

Based on these findings, the global food security has also deteriorated, says a Corteva Agriscience press release.

Bangladesh scored 50 points out of 100 in the GFSI findings. In 2019, the score was 51.6, which was a 0.3 decrease from the previous year's score of 51.9, and this year it decreased by 1.6 points further.

The 2020 Index stated that a changing climate and declining natural resources pose a serious challenge to future prosperity while it highlighted the importance of connecting farmers to information and markets, adding that the future is only as secure as our food system.

Bangladesh gathered the lowest points of 35.8 from the newly added category of natural resources and resilience.

In the category, Bangladesh lost points for lack of political commitment for climate adaptation, a 65 percent of its land degradation, highest risks in agricultural water quality, and its exposure to climate change effects.

In food quality and safety category, Bangladesh scored 40.9 points with 21 percent non-starch foods (all foods other than cereals, roots and tubers) in total dietary energy consumption against world's average of 52.4 percent.

In this category, Bangladesh lost points for failure to ensure micronutrient availability, availability of Vitamin A, iron, zinc and quality protein, failure to ensure food safety and safety mechanisms with 55.4 percent people having access to safely managed basic drinking water services, and 85.2 percent people having access to electricity for storing food safely.

In food availability category, Bangladesh scored the highest 64.4. Still the findings suggested that Bangladesh needs to develop its food supply adequacy, road, air, port, and rail infrastructures, reduce corruption and ensure political stability.

In affordability category, Bangladesh earned 48.3 points for its food safety net programmes.

The findings noted 52.9 percent of the population is living under global poverty line in Bangladesh and suggested to improve the operation of the food safety net programmes, ensure farmers' access to markets, agriculture financial services, and access to diversified financial products.