Government urged at a dialogue at ERF
Speakers on Sunday urged the government for steps to enact laws on Right to Food and implement it to ensure sufficient quantity of food and nutrition for the poor and extreme poor in the country.
They were speaking at a dialogue on “Need to Enact a Food Right Act and the Role of the Media” at the conference room of the Economic Reporters’ Forum (ERF) in the city.
The Right to Food Bangladesh and the ERF jointly organized the dialogue in association with the Christian Aid and the ICCO-Cooperation, a global non-governmental organization.
ERF General Secretary SM Rashidul Islam moderated the discussion programme.
“Enacting laws on the right to food is a demand of the time,” said Mohsin Ali, general secretary of the Right to Food Movement.
“Around 2.5 crore people have been suffering from malnutrition in the country. Once law is enacted, its enforcement will increase the scope of ensuring safe and sufficient foods for the poor section of the society,” he said.
Ali said Bangladesh has made impressive strides in economic and social sectors. “Nobody now dies from hunger. But there are cases of slow deaths and early deaths from not having access to required amount of food and nutritious food for years after years.”
He said the social safety net programmes have misleading targets which need to be addressed.
In Bangladesh, the poverty rate is 21.8%, or equivalents to 3.55 crore of a total 16.36 crore people. The extreme poverty rate is 11.13%, or about 2 crore, said Ali, referring to the planning commission data.
Arshad Hossain Siddiqui, lobby and advocacy expert for South & Central Asia Region at ICCO Cooperation, said, “Acts on the right to food and safe food have to be formulated. The constitution has guaranteed the right to food. Now it should be legally established.”
Speakers have urged the government to take measures to provide skills trainings, funds and employment opportunities to the people belonging to the extreme poverty group so that they can graduate from their current state.