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Workshop on Research to Inform Food and Nutrition Security Policies in Dhaka,Bangladesh:Dr.Syed Md.Zainul Abedin

 

A two-day Workshop on Research to Inform Food and Nutrition Security Policies was held on  3-4  July 2013 in the Ball  Room of Hotel Ruposhi Bangla ,Dhaka,Bangladesh.

Hon’ble Food Minister Dr.Muhammad Abdur Razzaque MP graced  the Inaugural Session of the workshop as the Chief Guest.He stated in his inaugural speech that Bangladesh is now referred across the world as a country of success for its food security and its ability to address the climate change impacts.He also said,“Once Bangladesh was known as country of famine, drought and flood, but now it is referred across the world as a country of success for its food security and its ability to address the climate change impacts,”

Dr Razzaque said the government considers agriculture, food security and nutrition as major priority areas.“Although we’ve made impressive achievement in grain production, we’re still facing considerable challenges in the areas of nutritional improvement, climate change adaptation, scarce natural resources, and access to safe and nutritious food,” he said.The Food Minister said achieving food and nutrition security is considered by the government as a key development agenda to make the country a middle income one as envisaged in the ‘Vision 2021’.About the country’s success in fighting poverty, he said although Bangladesh still has significant level of poverty, it has made a lot of progress in reducing poverty over the last decade.“Recently, FAO has awarded Bangladesh in recognition of our notable and outstanding progress in fighting hunger… we’ve achieved the UN Millennium Development Goal-1 as the prevalence of undernourishment reduced from 34.6 percent in 1990-92 to 16.8 percent in 2010-12.”Referring to the government steps for ensuring food security, Dr Razzaque said the ‘Country Investment Plan’ has been prepared to implement the food security programs following the ‘Bangladesh Food Security Investment Forum’ held in Dhaka in 2010.
Dr Razzaque said the government considers agriculture, food security and nutrition as major priority areas.“Although we’ve made impressive achievement in grain production, we’re still facing considerable challenges in the areas of nutritional improvement, climate change adaptation, scarce natural resources, and access to safe and nutritious food,” he said.The Food Minister said achieving food and nutrition security is considered by the government as a key development agenda to make the country a middle income one as envisaged in the ‘Vision 2021’.About the country’s success in fighting poverty, he said although Bangladesh still has significant level of poverty, it has made a lot of progress in reducing poverty over the last decade.“Recently, FAO has awarded Bangladesh in recognition of our notable and outstanding progress in fighting hunger… we’ve achieved the UN Millennium Development Goal-1 as the prevalence of undernourishment reduced from 34.6 percent in 1990-92 to 16.8 percent in 2010-12.”Referring to the government steps for ensuring food security, Dr Razzaque said the ‘Country Investment Plan’ has been prepared to implement the food security programmes following the ‘Bangladesh Food Security Investment Forum’ held in Dhaka in 2010. –
FAO Representative in Bangladesh Mike Robson,  EU Bangladesh Delegation-Head of Section-Rural Development  Gonzalo Serrano, NFPCSP-FAO Chief Technical Adviser Ciro Fiorillo and FPMU Director General Naser Farid, spoke at the session. Acting Secretary  of Food Ministry Abdul Awal Hawlader presided.
Guest of Honor,Mr.Kostas G.Stamoulis,Director ESA Division,FAO,Italy sent a message for the success of the workshop since he could not attend the same due to some other appointment.

 

The workshop  held on 3-4 July 2013 has been organized to present final results from 14 research studies and preliminary results from other 2 studies.The Workshop marks the final stage of a process initiated in 2009 with the approval of sixteen research topics by the Ministry of Food,based on the Governments priorities on Food and Nutrition Security.The 16 research were thereafter commissioned to National Research Institutions through an  open competition,with 14 of them initiated in October 2011 and currently completed and other 2 initiated in April 2012 and expected to be completed in fall  2013.The research outcomes are intended to inform Government’s policy making on food and nutrition security.They have  already been used as references for producing the National Food Policy Plan of Action and Country Invest Plan Monitoring Report 2013 that is the annual Government’s  report reviewing progress towards the PoA and CIP’s objective and the evolution of financing and delivery under the CIP.

The participants of the workshop include representatives of the Government of  Bangladesh,Civil Society Organizations(CSOs),Development Partners(DPs),national experts,media and relevant personnel.

The objectives of the workshop are to:

1.Present and discuss results and recommendations of 14 research programs.

2.Review preliminary results of 2 on-going research programs.

It may be mentioned  that the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations(FAO) and the Food Planning and Monitoring Unit (FPMU) of the Ministry of Food,Government of Bangladesh are jointly implementing the National Food Policy Capacity Strengthening Program(NFPCSP) with the financial support of the European Union(EU) and USAID.The  NFPCSP (www.nfpcsp.org) helps to strengthen institutional and human capacities in Bangladesh to design,implement and monitor  food security policies.Through its Research Grant Scheme,the NFPCSP has funded 16 policy relevant food security and nutrition research programs that will provide concrete policy options for improving food and nutrition security in Bangladesh.

The workshop facilitated dialogue among food security and nutrition researchers,and between researchers and policy makers  to maximize impact of the research completed and promote policy relevance of the two on-going research projects.

Thematic areas of The Workshop on Research to Inform Food and Nutrition Security Policies

1.Food Composition,Food Utilization and Nutrition Thematic Area:

In promoting infant and young child feeding,mothers need to be aware of how to plan and prepare complementary foods and  feed their young   children with the right amount and the right types of foods.

Some options of improved complementary feeding recipes based on food diversity and nutrient adequacy,as well as cultural acceptability had been prepared  and  made available.Similarly,on the basis of normative energy and nutrient requirements for the  Bangladeshi population,plans for sustainable diets at affordable cost with dietary  guidelines for a healthier nation was prepared and shared.Central to these issues are reliable food and nutrient composition data and Food Composition Tables(FCT) the updates for which were provided.Information on safety of foods based on a total diet study was shared to provide insights for agricultural planning,diet and nutritional assessment,food safety regulations  and consumer protection.

2.Food Access Thematic Area:

This theme was consisted of four studies,three of which related to social safety-nets.With the ambition to improve the effectiveness of safety-net programs,one of the studies presented results and policy recommendations on targeting and prioritization issues.Another study presented results on how social safety -nets could assist poor household to respond to climate change and a third study presented how safety-nets could promote productive outcomes for lasting poverty elimination and food security.The fourth study under this thematic area presented fresh evidence on urbanization and its implications for food security.

3.Food Availability Thematic Area:

There were eight studies in this thematic area.Three of them comprised food production inputs of land,ground water and credit which examined their trends,sustainability and accessibility. The study on land presented interesting results on land decline and or increase based on satellite imagery. This study created much interaction among the participants since it was one of the first such studies in Bangladesh.

Two studies investigated the structure and performance of key food markets of rice,and fruit ad vegetables.The rice market study results included an assessment of new milling technology.

Further three studies examined in depth profitability of farming across a range of crops,the trends and drivers in diversification of food production,and how the public rice procurement system influenced farming incentives.

All the studies presented new evidences based on data collected through purposefully designed household and farm surveys.

 

Detailed Program of The Workshop on Research to Inform Food and Nutrition Security Policies

Date        : 3-4 July 2013 (Wednesday and Thursday)

Venue     :Ruposhi Bangla Hotel,Ball Room,1 Minto Road,Dhaka 1000

Day 1      Wednesday   3 July 2013

0820-0920 Arrival and Registration

0920-0930 Guests take their seats

Session I     Inaugural Session

Chief Guest  :Dr.Muhammad Abdur Razzaque MP

Hon’ble  Minister,Ministry of Food

Chair             :Mr.Abdul Awal Hawlader ,Acting Secretary,Ministry of Food

Rapporteurs:Ms. Lalita Bhattacharjee,NFPCSP-FAO and

Mr.Mahbubur Rahman,FPMU

0930-0940 Welcome Address by Mr. Naser Farid

Director General,FPMU,Ministry of Food

0940-1000 Workshop Objectives by Mr. Ciro Fiorillo

Chief Technical Adviser,NFPCSP-FAO

1000-1010   Address by Guest of Honor,Mr.Kostas G.Stamoulis

Director ESA Division,FAO,Italy

1010-1020  Address by Guest of Honor,Mr.Philippe Jacques

Head of Cooperation,Delegation of the European Union to Bangladesh

1020-1030 Address by Guest of Honor,Mr.Richard Greene

Mission Director,USAID,Dhaka,Bangladesh

1030-1040 Address by Special Guest,Mr.Mike Robson

FAO Representative in Bangladesh

1040-1050 Address by the  Chair,Mr.Abdul Awal Hawlader ,Acting Secretary,Ministry of Food

1050-1115 Address by the Chief Guest,Dr.Muhammad Abdur Razzaque MP

Hon’ble  Minister,Ministry of Food

1115-1200 Tea/Coffee

Session II Food Availability:Land,Water,Credit,Profitabilty

  Chair:Prof Dr.M.A.Sattar Mandal,Member (Agriculture,Water Resources and Rural Institutions),Planning Commission,Bangladesh

Rapporteurs:Ms.Merzouk Quraishia,NFPCSP-FAO and

Mr.M.Ismail Miah,FPMU

1200-1215 Trends in the availability of agricultural land in Bangladesh

Mr.Md.Nazmul Hassan,Soil Resources Development Institute

1215-1220 Discussant-Mr.Shahin Yaqub,NFPCSP-FAO

1220-1230 General Discussion

1230-1245 The role of credit in food production and food security in Bangladesh

Prof.Dr.Bazlul Haque Khondker,Bureau of Economic Research,University of Dhaka

1245-1250 Discussant-Mr.M.Shahe Alam,NFPCSP-FAO

1250-1300 General Discussion

1300-1400 Prayer and Lunch

1400-1415 Sustainability of groundwater use for irrigation in North West Bangladesh

Dr.Nepal C.Dey,BRAC

1415-1420 Discussant-Mr.Rezaul Karim Talukder,NFPCSP-FAO

1420-1430 General Discussion

1430-1445  Financial and economic profitability of selected agricultural crops in Bangladesh

Prof.Dr.Mizanul H.Kajal ,Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University

1445-1450  Discussant-Mr.Rezaul Karim Talukder,NFPCSP-FAO

1450-1500 General Discussion

1500-1510 Remarks from the Chair

 

Session III  Access to Food:Safety-net and Migration

Chair:Prof.Donato Romano,

Department of Economics and Management,

Universita Degli Studi Firenze,Italy

 

Rapporteurs:Ms.Merzouk Quraishia,NFPCSP-FAO and

Mr.M.Abul Hashem,FPMU

1510-1525 Improving the targeting effectiveness of social safety-nets in Bangladesh

Prof.Dr.Abul Barkat,Manob Sakti Unnayan Kendra

1525-1530 Discussant-Mr.Shahin Yaqub,NFPCSP-FAO

1530 -1545 General Discussion

 

1545 -1600 Adapting social safety-net programs to climate change shocks: issues and options for Bangladesh

Prof.Dr.M.A.Awal,Department of Crop Botany,Bangladesh Agricultural University

1600-1605 Discussant-Mr.Shahin Yaqub,NFPCSP-FAO

1605- -1615 General Discussion

 

1615-1630 Rural-urban migration and its implications for food security in  Bangladesh

Prof.Dr.Md.Zakir Hossain,Department of Statistics,

Shahjalal  University of Science and Technology

1630-1635   Discussant-Mr.M.Shahe Alam,NFPCSP-FAO

1635-1650  General Discussion

 

1650-1705 Social safety-nets and productive outcomes :evidence and implications for Bangladesh

Dr.Ismat Ara Begum,Department of Agricultural Economics,

Faculty of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology

Bangladesh Agricultural University

1705–1710 Discussant-Mr.Rezaul Karim Talukder,NFPCSP-FAO

1710-1725  General Discussion

1725-1735 Remarks from the Chair

1735-1750 Tea/Coffee

 

Day 2      Thursday   4 July 2013

Session IV Nutrition :Food Composition and Dietary Intake

Chair:Prof.Dr.M.Q.K.Talukdar

Chairman,Centre for Women and Child Health

Rapporteurs:Mr.M.A.Mannan,NFPCSP-FAO and

Mr.M.Faruq Al Banna,FPMU

0900-0915 Food composition tables for Bangladesh

Prof.Dr.Nazma Shaheen,Centre for Advanced Research and Studies,

University of Dhaka

0915-0920 Discussant -Ms. Lalita Bhattacharjee,NFPCSP-FAO

0920-0930  General Discussion

 

0930-0945 Development of a complementary feeding manual for Bangladesh

Dr.A.K.M.Iqbal Kabir,Bangladesh Breastfeeding Foundation(BBF)

0945-0950 Discussant -Mr.M.A.Mannan,NFPCSP-FAO

0950-1000  General Discussion

 

1000-1015 Desirable dietary pattern for Bangladesh

Dr.Quamrun Nahar,BIRDEM

 

1015-1020 Discussant -Ms. Lalita Bhattacharjee,NFPCSP-FAO

1020-1030  General Discussion

 

1030-1045 Consumption of unsafe foods:heavy metal,mineral and trace element contamination

Prof.Dr.Md.Rafiqul Islam,Department of Soil Science,

Bangladesh Agricultural University

1045-1050 Discussant -Mr.M.A.Mannan,NFPCSP-FAO

1050-1100  General Discussion

1100-1115 Remarks from the Chair

1115-1130 Tea/Coffee

 

Session V  Food Availability : Diversification,Efficiency and Support to Farmers

Chair:Mr. Ciro Fiorillo

Chief Technical Adviser,NFPCSP-FAO   and

Prof.Dr.Shamsul Alam,Member(General Economics Division)

Planning Commission,Bangladesh

1130-1145 Improving the marketing systems of fruits and vegetables in Bangladesh

Prof.Dr.Md.Kamrul Hassan,Department of Horticulture,

Bangladesh Agricultural University

1145-1150 Discussant -Mr.Shaikh Abdus Sabur,NFPCSP-FAO

1150-1200  General Discussion

 

1200-1215 Policy options for supporting agricultural diversification in Bangladesh

Dr.Md.Monayem Miah,Agricultural Economics Division,

Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute

1215-1220   Discussant-Mr.M.Shahe Alam,NFPCSP-FAO

1220-1230  General Discussion

 

1230-1245 Structure,conduct and performance of the rice market and the impact of technological changes in milling.

Prof.Dr.Shankar K.Raha,Institute of Agribusiness and Development Studies,Bangladesh Agricultural University

1245-1250 Discussant -Mr.Shaikh Abdus Sabur,NFPCSP-FAO

1250-1300  General Discussion

 

1300-1315 Effectiveness of Bangladesh’s rice procurement system and possible alternatives:supporting farmers’ income and sustaining production incentives

Dr.Mohammad Jahangir Alam,Department of Agribusiness and Marketing ,

Faculty of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology,

Bangladesh Agricultural University

1315–1320 Discussant -Mr.Shaikh Abdus Sabur,NFPCSP-FAO

1320-1330  General Discussion

1330-1345  Remarks from the Chair

1345-1400 Closing Remarks by Mr. Naser Farid

Director General,FPMU,Ministry of Food

1400-1430 Prayer and Lunch

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plant Doctor :Dr Syed Md Zainul Abedin

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Plants  suffer from diseases like human and pets.You may be alarmed to learn that the diseases of plants caused great famines in the world. Irish Famine which was caused by the disease of potato called,Late blight of Potato.The pathogen which caused this disease is Phytophthora infestans.The great Bengal Famine of 1942 was caused by another plant disease,the Brown Spot of Rice.The causal organism of this disease is Bipolaris oryzae.

However,plants are also affected by pests like insects,mites,rodents,birds,snails etc.   and conditions of soil like deficiency and excess of plant nutrients and variations in soil reactions.Courses are offered in universities to equip graduates to prevent or cure problems of pests,diseases and nutrient imbalance.We may call such graduates as Plant Doctors.Services of such Plant Doctors may be available in many developed countries who prescribe for garden plants especially flower,vegetables and landscape plants.In developing countries public research and extension agencies offer services to the farmers for plant disease management .Some international agencies also support services of plant doctors through funding and training.

Plantwise,an UK based international initiative has come forward to provide plant health services around the world.

Plantwise is gathering and disseminating knowledge in two ways: 1) via a network of plant clinics in the developing world to help the poorest farmers and 2) internationally via the Knowledge Bank.


Plant clinics – farmer interface and support system

Over half of the one billion hungry people in the world are smallholder farmers who rely entirely on their crops to feed their families. Plantwise helps developing countries set up and run community based plant clinics that deliver free plant health advice to these farmers. The clinics, staffed by ‘plant doctors’, are a lifeline for farmers helping them overcome plant health problems and improve their yields. Sometimes the clinics can mean the difference between having a modest surplus which can be sold and going hungry.

Plantwise helps developing countries establish an integrated plant health system, of which the clinics form a vital part.


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Knowledge Bank – harnessing local knowledge

Plant doctors, extension workers and researchers all need access to the latest information in order to be able to best assist the farmer. Plantwise offers on-line diagnosis and treatment support information as well as practical on the ground training for potential plant doctors.

As a result of helping farmers Plantwise collects valuable data about plant pest and disease distribution that is shared with the participating countries. Working with the relevant NPPO (National Plant Protection Organization) Plantwise  publishes validated pest and disease distribution data. This information, harnessed effectively, can form the basis of an early warning system alerting the plant health community to a change in distribution of existing pests/diseases or the threat of a disease in a new region.

The Plantwise Knowledge Bank  helps with the local, national and regional fight against pests and diseases. In addition to local distribution data captured at the clinics Plantwise will capture data about new pests and diseases from scientists, published sources and official bodies, and map this information in greater detail than ever before.

Plantwise is a global programme, led by CABI, to improve food security and improve rural livelihoods by reducing crop losses.Currently Plantwise is operating in 31 countries and delivering its services through 413 plant clinics.These clinics have helped over 280,000 smallholder farmers and their families. Evaluation of Plantwise has revealed that it is a highly relevant, effective, efficient and well managed program.

You can get detailed information about the programs and activities of Plantwise in its website,http://www.plantwise.org

I am providing below a link of a video showing the services of  Plant Doctor assisted by CABI Plantwise.I hope you will enjoy the video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1grLFyBW9M

 

 

 

Plant clinics in Bangladesh

As a citizen of Bangladesh,I feel very fortunate to have the services of Plantwise in Bangladesh.I am citing some relevant information from the website of Plantwise to focus its activities in this country where agriculture plays very significant role in its economy.

 

To gain a better understanding of plant health problems, Rural Development Academy (RDA) and NGO’s Agricultural Advisory Society (AAS) and Shushilan have established 11 plant clinics in Natore, Bogra and Satkhira districts and Gazipur and Khulna.

The plant clinic approach was first introduced for farmers in Shahjahanpur upazila of Bogra district from 2004, in Baraigram upazila of Natore district by AAS from 2005, and in Kaliganj upazila of Satkhira district from 2006 under funding and technical support from CABI. The aim of the plant clinics was to:

  • enhance crop production
  • reduce production costs by avoiding frequent use of chemicals
  • increase income
  • remove the risk of crop failure due to pest and disease infestation,
  • help to save the environment from pollution

Women plant doctors at newly opened plant clinic in Bangladesh

 

Monitoring progress

A good monitoring system is essential to document clinic progress, assess the service quality, identify weaknesses and difficulties and define actions for continuous improvement. In 2008, a monitoring workshop in Satkhira with RDA, AAS and Shushilan was held as a first attempt to establish a simple monitoring system for the plant clinics.

The following link of Plantwise provides the resources of administering ‘Plant Doctor’ services in

Bangladesh:

http://www.plantwise.org/KnowledgeBank/CountryHome/Bangladesh/

Bangladesh trainnees