Food insecurity up by 22 percent in rural Bangladesh; poverty still an issue despite growing economy

Food insecurity has risen by around 22 percent in rural Bangladesh in comparison to the pre-pandemic period, finds a survey, indicating people are unable to eat enough and healthy nutritious food

Dec 27, 2021
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Food insecurity up by 22 percent in rural Bangladesh (Photo: Dhaka Tribune)

Food insecurity has risen by around 22 percent in rural Bangladesh in comparison to the pre-pandemic period, finds a survey, indicating people are unable to eat enough and healthy nutritious food. A report by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) found that between September and October, only 32 percent of households in rural areas were fully food secure, against 54.3 percent in the same period in the pre-pandemic time. 

The IFPRI conducted the phone survey in collaboration with Cornell University in three rounds, estimating the socio-economic conditions in rural areas of Bangladesh in June 2020, January 2021, and September-October 2021. 

The households reporting any food insecurity (mild, moderate or severe) increased from the pre-pandemic average of 45.7 percent to 87.8 percent in June 2020. It declined to 70.9 percent in January 2021 and 68 percent in September-October 2021, the survey found. 

Once infamously dubbed a "basket case", Bangladesh became food sufficient last year, and also made remarkable progress over the years in several socio-economic indicators. However, poverty still remains an issue for the country, with almost a fifth of the total population living below the poverty line, according to the Asian Development Bank (ADB). 

The survey compared data with the findings from the Bangladesh Integrated Household Survey (BIHS), a national-level rural survey collected through in-person interviews in 2018-2019,  showed up the growing population facing food insecurity, including consuming less diverse diets or being unable to eat healthy or nutritious food. 

(SAM) 

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