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Netherlands providing US$ 12.5 mn grant for safe food in Dhaka

Netherlands providing US$ 12.5 mn grant for safe food in Dhaka

Dhaka, Aug 14 : The Netherlands is providing a grant of USD 12.5 million to implement a project contributing to the development of a safe, sustainable and resilient food system for the Dhaka metropolitan area.

The Netherlands embassy in Dhaka and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) signed an agreement in this effect on Tuesday, said a FAO press release.

With population growth and the increasing pace of urbanization in Dhaka city, new concerns around food security and nutrition are emerging. These include securing enough nutritious food; poor food safety; increasing obesity, especially among women and children; and the high cost of food and food preparation, especially for the residents of the informal low-income settlements.

As the majority of foodstuffs are produced in rural areas, predominantly by smallholder farmers, and mostly consumed by the growing proportion of the population living in urban centres, understanding the flow of food products and their interaction with consumers is critical in facilitating the development of a safe, sustainable and resilient food system for the Dhaka Metropolitan Area.

This food is supplied from private sector farmers through private sector distribution networks. Understanding how these operate and what motivates the people in supplying food to Dhaka is central to helping the Government develop policies that will increase the efficiency of food distribution while also ensuring long-term sustainability and social acceptability for society.

This proposed project aims to develop a safe, sustainable and resilient food system for the Dhaka metropolitan area through an iterative action learning approach. This will be achieved through development of the systems model on food distribution, development of a strategic food agenda 2030 and interventions to improve the performance of the food system. Special emphasis will be placed on the role of women and poor peoples to explore and evaluate alternative strategies to improve access to safe, healthy, nutritious food.

A central outcome will be the creation of a consultative group of involved stakeholders to provide input to the local government processes and central government policy planning on future developments of the system.

The beneficiaries of this proposed project are the current and future citizens of the Dhaka metropolitan area; the primary stakeholders are the market players and the Government of Bangladesh, through the Local Government Division of the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives. Key technical expertise will be sourced from the strategic programme on inclusive and efficient food systems, as well as from the sustainable markets, agribusinesses, and rural transformations programme of FAO, and from Wageningen University and Research (WUR), Kingdom of Netherlands, to access proven techniques in systems analysis and responsive adaptation and learning for improving food systems planning and intervention.

Now that funding has been assured, FAO will work with Economic Relations Division and Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives, Department of Local Government to have the project incorporated in the annual development programme and commence implementation once agreed and signed with government, the press releases stated.