The government distributed nearly 10 lakh tonnes of rice at ‘lower price’ among 50 lakh ultra poor families across the country in two years under the food friendly programme that began in 2016.
Around 6.86 lakh tonne rice was distributed in 2016-17 fiscal year, while 2.98 lakh tonnes in 2017-18. Another 7.50 lakh tonnes of rice will be distributed in the current fiscal year.
“The governemnt has taken the programme for providing food assistance and ensuring nutrition for the 50 lakh ultra poor families with an aim to achieve ‘zero hunger’, ‘no poverty’ and sustainable development goal(SDG),” said food department director Parimal Chandra Sarker.
In addition to this, the government with the assistance from World Food Programme (WFP) is distributing fortified rice among 1,21,159 families of 10 upazilas in the country.
The upazilas are Kurigram Sadar and Phulbari, Keraniganj, Kaliganj, Moksudpur, Faridpur Sadar, Sarail, Bijoynagar, Ramganj and Bamna.
The fortified rice contains vitamin A, B1, B12, Folic Acid, Iron and zinc and each one kilogram of fortified rice is mixed with 100 kilogram of normal rice for effective nutrition supply from the staple food consumption, said the official.
“The distribution of the fortified rice will fulfill the nutrition deficiency and protect the people from vitamin and iron deficiencies like anemia, scurvy and beriberi diseases,” he added.
Terming the program as very significant, the food department official said. “The government has a plan to implement the programme across the country. But now we are piloting the program initially at 10 districts and upazilas.”
On September 7, 2016, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina formally inaugurated a new social safety net scheme titled ‘Food-Friendly Programme’ for 50 lakh ultra-poor families across the country.
The Prime Minister inaugurated the programme through distributing fair price food ration cards among the heads of 15 families at a function in the district.
The Ministry of Food and the District Administration jointly organised the programme.
Under the scheme, each of 50 lakh poor families buys 30 kg rice at Tk 10 per kg a month for five lean months during the dry season. Such facility for the ultra-poor families will be available during the months of March, April and September, October and November of the year.
Under the programme, selected cardholders will get 30 kilograms of rice every month through village ration dealers at a rate of Tk 10 per kg.
The ultra-poor families have been selected through the local public representatives.