The Bangladesh Integrated Food Policy Research Programme will combine policy research with capacity strengthening to find solutions to boost the long-term availability of food in a country that is prone to natural disasters that can wipe out stores of cereals, said food minister Qamrul Islam.
“The government is committed to protecting the poor and vulnerable with the use of modern engineering and information technology,” he added.
The five-year research programme, also involving academics at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, is designed to meet the food-policy needs of a growing Bangladesh population.
Specifically, it will set out to improve the food value chain, find ways to increase public food-stocks, boost disaster responses and enhance price stabilisation by using digital technology.
Its research activities will focus on a range of food policy considerations, including storage and transport, market and policy analysis, and capacity-building and outreach.
As the programme’s lead partner, Ifpri will provide overall guidance on analytical work and assess best policies and practices on grain storage management.
“In the last half of the twentieth century, food policy in most Asian countries focused on ensuring the availability of cereals,” said Shahidur Rashid, an Ifpri researcher and the programme’s lead.
“But sufficient cereal availability and rapid economic growth in many of these countries, including Bangladesh, has highlighted the need to upgrade the food policy architecture with modern technology and stronger institutions; so, it is crucial we use a sound analytical basis to build and manage the new policy architecture.”
The programme will also work with government institutions, including the food ministry’s policy monitoring unit, and the private sector.