Industry Desk: Experts at a dialogue yesterday said fresh food markets are a key resource in the effort to increase nutritious intake and fight food insecurity.
Citing the findings of a recent study by the Food and Agriculture (FAO), they said 95 percent of the urban poor in Dhaka purchase most of their food from these markets.
As part of preparations for the first ever United Nations Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) later this year, an independent dialogue was held yesterday on the future of the country’s fresh food markets.
The dialogue was coorganised by FAO, the World Bank, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), BSAFE Foundation, British Council’s PROKAS, and Bangladesh Food Safety Authority (BFSA), a FAO press release said.
Md Abdul Kayowm Sarker, Chairman of Bangladesh Food Safety Authority; Dr Shaikh Azizur Rahman, Director General, Department of Livestock Services; Md Asadullah, Director General of Department of Agricultural Extension; Farid Ahmed, Chief Executive Officer of Dhaka South City Corporation; Md Bablu Kumar Saha, Director General, Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection; and Dr Shaikh Mohammad Bokhtiar, Chairman of Bangladesh Agriculture Research Council spoke at the dialogue.
Khaja Abdul Hannan, Additional Secretary of Ministry of Food; Dr Shaikh Azizur Rahman, Director General, Department of Livestock Services (DLS); John Taylor, Chief Technical Adviser of Dhaka Food System, FAO; Gerry Fox, Team Leader of PROKAS, British Council; Reza Siddique of BSAFE Foundation; delivered the opening speeches at the dialogue.
John Taylor, Chief Technical Advisor of FAO’s Dhaka Food System project, said fresh food markets have a pivotal role to play in improving access to safe, affordable, and nutritious food.
Fresh food markets can really improve the diets of community members who are food insecure, Taylor said, adding that those suffering from food insecurity have little money for or access to food, particularly nutritious food.
“This can negatively affect their learning and development, family life, productivity, and physical and mental health. Fresh markets are beneficial not only for the poor though but a great resource for everybody since they sell a great variety of fresh food that is important to keep healthy,” the FAO adviser said.
FAO is supporting the government of Bangladesh to hold a series of UNFSS dialogues that will result in a set of policy recommendations and actions necessary for a more sustainable and inclusive food system.
FAO’s Dhaka Food System project, funded by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, holds city working group meetings regularly with officials from all four City Corporations (Dhaka North, Dhaka South, Gazipur, and Narayanganj).
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