THE price of potato remained high, defying the government-fixed maximum retail price of Tk 30 a kg. Price of potatoes varied from Tk 50 to Tk 55 for varieties in the city that is almost 100 per cent higher than that of a year ago. While people of middle- and low-income groups are still struggling to get over the loss of income caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the soaring price of daily essentials is compounding their problems. The situation has become so dire for some that the minimum amount of food on the everyday menu -- rice, potato, edible oil, green chilli and onion -- is being considered a luxury as prices of these five basic items have increased by Tk 5 to Tk 110 per kg over the last two months. Hundreds of low- and middle-income people are facing double the crisis -- a dwindling income and rising food prices, shrinking their access to adequate and sufficient food. According to World Hunger Index (GHI) 2020, Bangladesh has reduced hunger by a significant margin, but the severity of the crisis remains serious. The country has moved 13 notches up to the 75th position among 107 countries in the index. The country may not face the worst adversity of pandemic in the food and nutrition sector as it is self-sufficient in food production, but a coordinated and long term multi-sectoral strategic approach will be vital to ensure nutrition and food security. Experts said availability of food must be increased along with the food production to ensure sufficient access to food for marginalised people. Besides, a proper distribution channel along with a smooth supply chain has to be ensured. The government market intervention so far contributes to declining the price, profit mongering should be framed for illegal hoarding and profiteering. Recurrent floods and the pandemic caused an immense loss in farming and disruption in the supply chain, however, the country comes out of the pandemic impact. In this time, profiteering attitude of unscrupulous traders must be shunned for helping nutrition and food security of marginal and income-loss people.
Editor: A.M. MUFAZZAL, Managing Editor: ARSHAD HOSEIN.
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