Tuesday, June 2, 2020 | ePaper

CGIAR to support BD mitigating COVID-19 impact on food system

  • Print

CGIAR Centres, a major grouping of the world's top agriculture and food research organizations, on Thursday issued a statement identifying impending COVID-19 impacts on yields, nutrition and agriculture trading and appreciated simultaneously the government responses to the concerns.
"We are encouraged that essential inputs continue to be provided through ongoing agricultural business trade and that appropriate farm machinery is being used for timely harvesting," read a statement of the network that included the Manila-based International Rice Research Institute (IRRI).
The network promised to stand by Bangladesh in mitigating COVID-19 impact on food system and expected the government announcement to extend financial support particularly for seed purchase and requisition of wheat and rice to largely mitigate the crisis in food sector.
But the grouping simultaneously feared that "despite strong efforts to address COVID-19's impacts", the pandemic exposed farmers, traders, extension officers, and agricultural businesses to "unprecedented challenges".
The other partners of the CGIAR Centres are International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and WorldFish,
The statement said in their initial rapid analyses the network identified a series of emerging concerns, with the first one being "notable reductions in the availability of perishable foods, including vegetables, fruits, and fish, which are crucial for health and nutrition".
It said farmers by now began to face challenges in selling perishable goods at reasonable prices while despite price control measures, consumers in urban areas started encountering inflated food prices, with some crucial commodities becoming unaffordable, especially for the poor.
The statement said though trucks were permitted to transport agricultural inputs and produces despite the nationwide lockdown, informal and courier transport services that play a key role in input supply and food distribution were suffering.
"The livestock, poultry, and aquaculture sectors are suffering as the supply of essential feeds and veterinary services have been disrupted and are experiencing unprecedented shocks," the statement read.
It said social distancing measures appear to be slowing ongoing horticultural and boro crop harvests while "delays in maize harvests loom as a near-term concern".
The network found reduced food and labor demand by food processors, supermarkets, eateries, restaurants, and hotels are, in turn, impacting hundreds of thousands in the service industry.
In view of the concerns and challenges, the CGIAR Centres came up with a series of suggestions urging the government to consider them for "priority actions" to avert further risks to Bangladesh's food systems.
The grouping said they believed enhanced permissions for transportation to assure the flow of food from rural to urban areas and the flow of crucial inputs to farmers through market systems.
"Key among these are guaranteeing the supply of horticultural, fish and livestock products - in addition to the staple foods, rice and wheat - to provide diverse, nutritious and safe diets for all," the statement said.
The network sought measures to reduce shocks to financial and logistics systems associated with agriculture to minimize impacts on farmers' incomes to be caused by high inputs and labor costs and lower than normal farm gate prices.
It said he farmers must have expanded access to finance options in need of capital to assure production while support for the private sector was also crucial because of its role in providing affordable inputs to farmers.
The network said the government should devise ways to support the flow of remittances and cash flows to rural areas alongside reviewing options to support people who were dependent on income from farm labour.
"As seen in the response to the social distancing challenges currently affecting boro harvest, scale-appropriate farm mechanization options will also become increasingly important to assure timely operations," it said.
The statement stressed action plans to support Bangladesh's food systems in response to COVID-19-prompted international trade restrictions, fearing that even partial closure of ports might result in high prices and limited stocks of pulses, edible oils, wheat, and supplies of feed like maize and soybean.
"Similarly, although current national stocks appear to be initially sufficient, prolonged suspension of international trade could undermine the future supply of key inputs (particularly phosphorous and potassium fertilizers, vaccinations, pesticides, and fuel) at reasonable prices," it said.
. The CGIAR Centres urged the government to activate effective intelligence monitoring systems to provide timely data informing policy decisions to help address problems before they evolved into serious crises risking food security.
It said systems were needed to ensure complete and even distribution of messages to all levels, monitor farmers' access to inputs and input prices, provide comprehensive monitoring of staple foods, horticultural, fish and livestock prices, pest and disease monitoring and production forecasting.
The CGIAR Centres said they remained committed to support the government in mitigating the risks to food systems during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
The statement said the network would extend its supports by conducting crucial research, collecting and analysing data, developing food and nutrition security response strategies, and advising on appropriate policies, with emphasis on mitigating the impacts of shocks on the most vulnerable.
The network also outlined their specific actions to assist the government that included evidence-based advising on appropriate policies and technologies.

More News For this Category

Director General of DGHS Abul Kalam Azad being greeted with bouquet by his colleagues when he arrived office on Monday after recovered from COVID-19 symptoms.

Director General of DGHS Abul Kalam Azad being greeted with bouquet by his colleagues when he arrived office on Monday after recovered from COVID-19 symptoms.

Equal participation of women in UN peacekeeping stressed

Bangladesh Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN) Ambassador Rabab Fatima put stress on importance of ensuring meaningful, equal, and full participation of women in UN peacekeeping operations."I salute the

Around 6.25cr people get govt relief amid corona situation

As a part of government's continuous effort to minimize people's hardship amid COVID-19 pandemic, around 6.25 crore people in the country have already come under government relief coverage."The government has

Light to moderate rain likely

Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD) on Monday predicted light to moderate rain at many places over the country in the next 24 hours ending 9 am today."Light to moderate rain or

An Executive Magistrate of Road Division seen to supervise the plying of long-route buses. The snap was taken from Dhaka-Chattogram Highway on Monday.

An Executive Magistrate of Road Division seen to supervise the plying of long-route buses. The snap was taken from Dhaka-Chattogram Highway on Monday.

4th episode of AL's webinar 'Beyond the Pandemic' today

The fourth episode of the ruling Awami League's ongoing webinar titled 'Beyond the Pandemic' will be held at 8.30 pm today.Prime Minister's Special Assistant Barrister Shah Ali Farhad will conduct

Murad mourns death of Anwar Hossain

State Minister for Information Dr Md MuradHassan on Monday expressed profound shock and grief at the death of Prime Minister's Deputy Press Secretary-1 Md Ashraful Alam Khokan's father Anwar Hossain.In

Lions Clubs Int'l  gets new executives

Lions Clubs Int'l gets new executives

Lion Md. Nazrul Islam Sikder PMJF was elected as Distrcit Governor for the year 2020-2021, during the 25th Annual Disctrict Convention of Lions Clubs International, District 315A1 at BLF Auditorium,

Army provides foodstuffs to 250 families in Rajshahi

Bangladesh Army has provided foodstuffs to 250 destitute and other helpless families in Rajshahi aimed at easing their livelihood related hardships being caused by the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.  Each

Quick power supply in disaster-prone areas stressed

In the wake of power disruption in the coastal regions due to the cyclone 'Amphan', State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid said electricity would be restored