2 years ago

Food insecurity in Bangladesh returns to pre-Covid level: IFPRI

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The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) found that the moderate or severe food-insecurity situation in Bangladesh returned to the pre-pandemic level by January this year, which the households experienced after the Covid-19 pandemic hit Bangladesh last year.

It said with the onset of the pandemic, combined with the lockdown restrictions imposed from March through May 2020, moderate and severe food insecurity tripled to 45 per cent.

This was driven likely by income losses and difficulties in accessing food because of shop closures, the IFPRI said in its latest policy note, released on Sunday. "By January 2021, the proportion of moderately or severely food insecure households largely returned to pre-pandemic levels," the IFPRI said.

"The September-October 2021 survey showed no further meaningful change in the prevalence of moderate or severe food insecurity despite the strict national lockdown imposed in July-August 2021."

The IFPRI, however, added that the prevalence of 'any food insecurity' (mild, moderate or severe) remained persistently higher than the pre-pandemic period.

Whereas the majority of rural households reported being fully food-secure in pre-pandemic, less than one in three households in September-October 2021 reported the same.

Nearly two out of three rural households in September-October 2021 were worried about not having enough food, and more than half of rural households reported buying food on credit or borrowing money to buy food, it noted.

The IFPRI noted that although rural households shown remarkable resilience in terms of food security to Bangladesh's devastating third wave of Covid-19 - including the surge of cases, hospitalisations, deaths, and associated lockdowns in 2021 - so far too many rural households remain in a precarious and stressful situation.

"A large majority of rural households are understandably worried about their access to food, given that their coping strategies are not sustainable over the longer term. Households cannot indefinitely buy food on credit or borrow money," it added.

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