Citizen Dialogue on Food Security and Social Safteynet Programs in Bangladesh

Only 20 percent of the monthly food needs of the beneficiaries are met with the foods received through TCB’s Family Card program. During the rest of the month, these families have to live in food shortage. Besides this, the beneficiaries have to spend an extra amount of money due to additional travel costs because of the distance of the TCB sales center, the inability to purchase food products as per need due to the sale of products in the package system, etc. This information was revealed in a social audit report released today (December 19, 2022) at the BRDB Auditorium in Noakhali at a citizen dialogue titled ‘Food Security Situation: Increase of Food Price and Allocation of Social Security Programmes’. Development organization Participatory Research and Action Network-PRAAN and ActionAid Bangladesh jointly organized the dialogue.

Noakhali Additional Deputy Commissioner (General) Israt Sadmin, Agricultural activist Rezaul Karim Siddiqui, Deputy Director of Agriculture Extension Department Noakhali Shahedul Haque, Noakhali District Food Controller Humayun Kabir, Noakhali District Social Service Officer Md. Jasim Uddin, Noakhali District Agricultural Marketing Officer Bijay Kumar Das, Associate Professor of Science and Technology University Dr. Mehede Hasan Rubel, Dr. Abdul Qayyum Masud, Dr. Muhammad Mohinuzzaman joined the dialogue as chief guests. Also, officials from different public and private institutions, local government representatives, and beneficiaries of various government SafetyNet programs participated in the dialogue. PRAAN Program Coordinator Umme Salma presented a social audit report titled ‘TCB Family Card Program: What and How Much the Low-Income People Really Get’  in the event.

The speakers said, in the dialogue, the speakers said, ‘People’s right to food is a human right, so it is the responsibility of the state to ensure the food rights and food security of the citizens. Due to corona epidemic, more than 3 crore people have become poor in the country. At present, the increase in food prices is disrupting people’s food security more and more. Small and marginal peasants are further pushed into poverty due to the non-availability of fair prices for agricultural produce. The speakers demanded multi-pronged measures like encouraging family farming, strengthening local market supervision in view of Ramadan, introducing ration cards for the poor, increasing the amount of TCB food assistance cards, ensuring good governance in the distribution of the cards, campaigning about TCB products selling time and list of products for the citizens, increasing the number of sales outlets, abandoning partisanship in the selection of beneficiaries, mitigating price shocks on the common people of the country, increasing social safety net to ensure food security, transparency, and accountability, domestic production, reaching the people of marginal and working income, etc. to ensure food security for the citizen.

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