Monday 5, June 2023

Report says 1.5cr people may fall at hunger risk

Time News Desk: Without any action taken to contain the impacts of climate change, nearly 1.5 crore people of Bangladesh are at risk of hunger by 2030, predicted the 2022 global food policy report released by the Institute of Food Policy Research on Wednesday.

Hungry was defined here as people having not enough calorie in supply since climate change impacts would affect Bangladesh’s crop output, fish production and ecosystem.

With appropriate measure, the number of hungry people at risk in the context of climate sense would have been brought down to 87 lakh, the report said.

Bangladesh has the third largest population facing the risk of going hungry in South Asia, with India following with 9 crore people at risk of hunger and Pakistan with 4.5 crore people at risk of hunger by 2030, the report predicted.

Without climate change, the report said that the number of people at risk of hunger would have been 69 lakh in Bangladesh, 4.5 crore in India and 2.4 crore in Pakistan.

‘With the right step we can transform our vulnerability into resilience and then into prosperity,’ said Shahidur Rashid, director, South Asia, IFPRI, just before the report was launched at a hotel in Dhaka in the afternoon.

‘Act now. Act on cutting greenhouse gas emission,’ he said, adding that agriculture contributes about a third of greenhouse gas emission in the world.

Climate change, particularly a considerable increase in temperature, salinity and extreme rainfall leading to floods would render crop cultivation and fish farming very difficult.

While flood and extreme rain could decimate rice production as Bangladesh experienced in 2017 when a flood damaged boro paddy on 2,20,000 hectares, high temperature would reduce wheat production, the report said.

In Bangladesh, the average annual temperatures have increased in the last six decades, the report mentioned, adding that extreme precipitation events would be 1.7 times more likely in Bangladesh by 2050.

The overall precipitation, however, has been on the declining trend since 1981, 88mm per decade, the report said.

It projected a modest decline of 0.11 per cent of GDP by 2030 and a 1.23 per cent fall in agricultural GDP in Bangladesh.

The report estimated that the loss of ecosystem services because of climate change could range from $18 to $20 million by 2050 in Bangladesh under low-and high-emissions scenarios.

Estimating a significant increase in the number of malnourished children in South Asia because of food shortages caused by climate change impacts, the report particularly estimated a reduction of up to 17 per cent in total calorie consumption by 2030 in Bangladesh.

Per capita calorie intake per day would stood at 2653 kcal by 2030 in Bangladesh, far below the world average of 2983 kcal with no steps for tackling climate change, the report said.

‘We are working to strengthen capacity, improve early warning systems, invest in climate smart technology and develop heat and salinity tolerant crop varieties,’ said planning minister Muhammad Abdul Mannan at the event.

Amid a global projection of a fall in fisheries productivity in tropical and subtropical regions like South Asia, increasing salinity intrusions in inland aquaculture ponds have resulted in fish mortalities In India and Bangladesh where subsistence fisheries provide up to 60 per cent of animal protein in people’s diets, the report said.

It recommended reducing the use of fossil fuel in irrigation and instead investing in renewable energy for a sustainable agricultural development.

Investment in research and development will multiply positive results, it added.

Research from Bangladesh showed that a modest transfer to support seasonal migration had very large returns for households facing extreme seasonal food insecurity, the report said.

The report launching event was also attended by Tenzin Lekphelt, secretary general, BIMSTEC, Jamal Uddin Ahmed, director, agriculture, rural development and SAARC development fund, Aditi Mukherji, principal researcher of the International Water Management Institute, and Sayedul Islam, secretary, ministry of agriculture.


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