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Bangladesh beats India, Pakistan in hunger alleviation

Published : 15 Oct 2021 11:20 PM | Updated : 16 Oct 2021 01:15 PM

Bangladesh is ahead of India and Pakistan in South Asia in terms of global hunger eradication activities and results. 

The country has progressed 13 notches to the 75th position among 107 countries in the Global Hunger Index (GHI) 2020 while Pakistan and India were ranked 92th and 101 respectively.

Bangladesh achieved a GHI score of 20.4 out of 100. A higher score indicates a worsening hunger situation while zero is the best score, indicating no hunger.

In 2019, Bangladesh was ranked 88th out of 117 countries in the same index. In 2018, Bangladesh was 86th in this index.

The latest index was published jointly on October 12 by international humanitarian organisation Concern Worldwide and Germany's Welthungerhilfe – one of the largest private aid organisations in the world.

According to the index, Bangladesh has shown the biggest improvement in curbing Child Stunting. 

During the nine-year period from 2012 to 2020, the country reduced child stunting by 12.8 percentage points.

Yet, 28 percent of under-five children experienced chronic undernutrition in 2020.

Moreover, Bangladesh saw the narrowest improvement in the undernourishment component. About 13 percent of the total population are experiencing undernourishment or insufficient caloric intake. 

The value was 13.8 percent in 2012, suggesting an improvement of only 0.8 percentage points during the period.

Additionally, the country witnessed a 3 percent under-five mortality rate in 2020. The report also mentions that undernourishment is an indicator of inadequate food supply.

The index includes six South Asian countries where Sri Lanka (64th) tops the ranking followed by Nepal (73rd) and Bangladesh. 

Both Sri Lanka and Nepal are the only countries in South Asia to be placed in the "moderate" severity level.

Afghanistan (99th), India (94th) and Pakistan (88th) are the bottom three countries in South Asia. 

The GHI has not included Bhutan and Maldives in the 2020 report. The Concern Worldwide is set to officially launch the report on October 16.

Experts said Bangladesh should focus broadly on three points to reduce hunger including increasing agricultural productivity through technology, ensuring an uninterrupted food distribution channel and supply chain, and through boosting the purchasing power by generating more employment.

Putting more emphasis on food availability, they said if we look at the official statistics of food production in Bangladesh, it will show an increasing trend, but the problem is with food availability.

The availability of food must be increased along with the food production, and we need to ensure sufficient access to food for the marginalised people."

They also mentioned the importance of a proper distribution channel along with an uninterrupted and smooth supply chain to ensure food accessibility.