Bangladesh ranks 80th among 113 countries in the Global Food Security Index. Bangladesh has advanced four steps compared to last year. Despite that, Bangladesh is one step behind Sri Lanka (79) which is in political crisis.
This information has emerged in the report entitled ‘Global Food Security Index 2022’ of the UK-based The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).
EIU has been publishing this index since 2012 to highlight the global food security situation.
Bangladesh ranks above Laos and Pakistan among 13 Asian and Pacific countries in this year’s index. In 2021, Bangladesh was ranked 84th. And Sri Lanka’s position was 72nd.
Among other South Asian countries this year, India is ranked 68th, Myanmar 72nd and Nepal 74th. According to the report, the index is formulated by awarding 100 points based on four criteria. These are affordability, accessibility, quality and safety, natural resources and sustainability. Through all these indicators, the points obtained by Bangladesh are 54. Bangladesh ranks 80th out of 113 countries in the overall index. Among them, it is ranked 87th by getting 52.1 points in food purchasing power and 46th by getting 61.5 points in food availability. It is ranked 71st with 58.4 points in food quality and safety and 93rd with 43.9 points in sustainable natural resources and adaptation.
According to the report, Finland is among the top countries in terms of food safety. The country scored 83.7 out of 100 points. This is followed by Ireland, Norway, France and the Netherlands. On the other hand, Syria is at the bottom of food security. The country achieved 36.3 out of 100 points. It is followed by Haiti, Yemen, Sierra Leone and Madagascar respectively. However, the global food security situation has come to a standstill. In 2019, food safety standards across the world rose to the highest level in the last 11 years. It continued in the following year 2020 as well. On the other hand, it came down to 62.2 points in 2021, which is also present this year. Experts say that global food quality is not improving due to supply shortages along with war situations.
In this regard, Pratima Singh, Principal of Economist Impacts of The Economist Intelligence Unit, told Kal Kantha that the Russia-Ukraine war situation has become a major obstacle to food trade. Apart from this, food supply crisis has arisen due to poor transport management. As a result, global food availability is decreasing. Besides, many countries have to deal with natural disasters and climate risks. Food inflation is on the rise due to overall reduced food supply, which will put food security at risk for poor and emerging economies in Asia and Africa. To overcome this situation, regional and global connectivity must be strengthened to increase trade in food products as well as increase production according to capacity.
Bangladesh is in a vulnerable position mainly on two criteria. These include sustainable natural resources and adaptation. In this case, the political commitment is quite strong but there is quite a weakness in the management. Besides, food insecurity is increasing due to natural disasters and climate change. However, the report revealed that there is a need for more emphasis on water and land management.
Apart from this, Bangladesh is lagging behind in terms of food purchasing power. 87th out of 113 countries. Bangladesh ranks quite well in several sub-indicators of this criterion. These include agricultural research and production and trade in agricultural products.
There is a lot of room for improvement in the quality of food and food products of the country. However, due to agricultural infrastructure, poverty issues and not being able to create a food security zone, Bangladesh is lagging behind in the food affordability index. The report found that there is a lack of commitment to food security and accessibility.
While the global average on this criterion is 72.4 points, Bangladesh’s achievement is only 26.8 points. Agricultural infrastructure is quite underdeveloped and unsustainable, holding back Bangladesh’s achievements. Besides, a large part of the country is living below the poverty line. Research by The Economist Intelligence Unit finds a lack of effective initiatives to ensure food access to them.
In this regard, former Food Secretary Abdul Latif Mondal told Kal Kantha that although some importance is given to obtaining food, there are no effective sustainable measures to ensure safe food. As there is a lack of awareness in this area, there is considerable weakness in the enforcement of the law. It is not possible to ensure food security with import dependent food supply. Hence, as benefits to farmers need to be effectively implemented to increase income, policy re-evaluation and new measures need to be taken to reinvigorate the growth rate of crop production relative to population growth. He felt that there is no alternative to effective enforcement of laws and refraining from providing misleading information on food in order to obtain safe food.