Food security must be made an utmost priority at this time
The Covid-19 pandemic, along with its direct and more obvious threat to human life, brings with it a secondary problem -- that of a food crisis. This is true for many countries around the world, but Bangladesh, as a nation where many still live below the poverty line, is susceptible to being hit hard.
A grim forecast has been made by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) -- the total number of undernourished people may increase by 132 million this year alone. This increase is likely to be accompanied by a sharp increase in the number of malnourished children.
Bangladesh is, indeed, fighting battles on many fronts at this moment. While we take on Covid-19 with limited resources, we are also managing poverty and hunger, frequent natural disasters, and an overwhelming refugee crisis at the border.
Furthermore, all these problems are interconnected, complicating things for policy planners. This is why, instead of focusing on one issue while ignoring all others, it is important to have a comprehensive approach.
Even without the pandemic, natural disasters like the devastating flooding we have been witnessing this year cause widespread damage to crops and livestock. A damaging blow is thus dealt to farm incomes and our food production. In more urban areas, the pandemic has resulted in widespread job losses across the board, with very little hope in sight.
Food security, however, must be made an utmost priority at this time, because it is so utterly essential to human survival. This means not only focus on innovative farming solutions that adapt to the new normal, but also by protecting farmers and vulnerable communities, and making sure resources that are meant for the poor are not misappropriated in the process of aid distribution.