Researchers, policymakers and implementers collectively stressed on the importance of agriculture in improving nutrition at the “Leveraging agriculture for nutrition in Bangladesh” research dissemination seminar held at BRAC Centre INN on 14 June. This knowledge sharing event was organised by BRAC as the Bangladesh partner of the Leveraging Agriculture for Nutrition in South Asia (LANSA), which is an international research consortium funded by the UK government’s Department for International Development (DFID).
Chief guest of the workshop Dr Shelina Afroza, secretary of Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries said ‘This seminar has lessened the gap between researchers and policy makers’ and encouraged the researchers to reach out to policy makers and relevant ministries with their findings and data.
In his keynote presentation, Dr Mahabub Hossain mentioned “GDP growth has increased from 3.5% per year during 1971-89 to 5% in the 1990s and further to 6.2% during last decade”. He also emphasised that diversified agricultural production along with some socio-economic factors including women’s empowerment have a key role in improving nutrition in households. Knowledge generated through research should be translated into actions through proper policy implementation. This event was one step towards that.
Women empowerment plays a key role in improving dietary quality, mentioned IFPRI’s chief of party, Dr Akhter Ahmed in his presentation. He also identified the skewed rate of rice consumption in our country ‘for the poor population, 78% of calorie comes from rice, 57% of protein comes from rice’. IFPRI research found out that, Behavioural Change Communication is critical in enhancing nutrition in Bangladesh.
Representatives from Ministry of Health, FAO, GAIN, IFPRI, World Fish, Concern Worlwide, FHI 360, HKI, Dhaka University, University of Liberal Arts, Harvest Plus, Aftab Bahumukhi Farm Ltd, SUN among others were present at the event.