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Dhaka Tribune

Food minister: Fortified rice can reduce malnutrition

He added that the government will produce more fortified rice to fight malnutrition

Update : 02 May 2019, 02:57 PM

In order to tackle malnutrition, the government of Bangladesh is going to produce more fortified rice.

Food Minister Sadhan Chandra Majumder remarked this at a workshop titled "National Level Discussion Meeting on Promoting Nutrition among Adolescents” held in Dhaka's Centre on Integrated Rural Development for Asia and the Pacific (Cirdap) Auditorium on Thursday.

This event was jointly-arranged by the World Food Programme (WFP) and Shornokishoree Network Foundation (SKNF).

The minister said: "Now we are distributing 30kg of rice to each poor family. Although, we want to distribute this rice all over the country so that everyone can get their required amount of nutrition.  

"The government is planning to produce fortified rice and make it compulsory for auto rice mill owners to buy it from the farmers so that it is available at local markets."

"Everyone should have a balanced diet that includes all the necessary nutrition. Just fish and meat cannot provide a balanced diet and the absence of this [a balanced diet] will interrupt proper mental growth," he added.

Expressing his concern regarding malnutrition among the people living in the villages, the minister said: "Earlier, villages grew fresh vegetables thus the people living there had their nutrition needs met. The situation now is different.

"Now that things have changed, students from the rural areas of the country are not being able to keep up with others because of malnutrition. Those who are able to get and provide a diet that is well balanced and nutritious do better in every sector. So everyone has to be aware about this."

The minister then urged the students present at the event to spread their knowledge among others regarding fortified rice called "Pushti Chaal" — modified rice with added micronutrients.

Speakers at the workshop said that fortified rice can build future generations as autogenous by reducing malnutrition.

The speakers further stated that fortified rice can significantly contribute to ensuring nutrition for everyone, and without this, sustainable development will not be possible.

Echoing this, Directorate of Secondary & Higher Secondary Education Director Prabir Kumar Bhattacharhee said: "In order to build the future Bangladesh, healthy and nutritious food must be provided to the present generation."

"For the present generation to be recognized as efficient human resources, a healthy food and diet is necessary."

Adding to the conversation, Prof Abdul Aziz, member of standing committee, Ministry of Health and Family Planning, said: "This is the time to know which healthy food is needed for children. 

"Everyone should raise awareness regarding this issue."

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