Ever since independence, hunger has been a lingering issue for Bangladesh.
From the historic famine of 1974 that witnessed close to half a million souls die from post-famine health complications, to the continuing battle that we are waging to bring child nutrition up to an acceptable level.
Needless to say, this is a battle that we have continued to fight tooth and nail.
To that end, it is good to know that Bangladesh currently stands at 88 out of 118 countries in the 2017 Global Hunger Index, moving up two places since last year. Also worth noting is that we outrank both India (which stands at 100) and Pakistan (at 106), our two immediate neighbours.
Moving up two places in a single year is something to be proud of you, given the gravity of the issue, this is the sort of progress we want.
However, we need to do much more to eliminate hunger as a national issue. We need more initiative such as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s food aid program for the ultra poor, especially in light of the Global Hunger Index’s recent ranking which, despite the progress, still places Bangladesh in the “serious” category.
Wild fluctuations in the prices of rice is one of the main issues compounding the overall problem, and the government needs to do more to keep prices at a tolerant level, given the fact that rice is our most important staple -- a good step forward could be to introduce subsidies to farmers who specialise in growing rice, reducing our dependence on imports.
Despite all the progress we have made, hunger continues to be a problem for the nation. It is time to take the fight to hunger and eliminate it.