The Ministry of Food and the World Food Programme formalised the inclusion of fortified rice in Open Market Sales (OMS) on Monday (today).
Richard Ragan, Country Representative of the World Food Programme, Sarwar Mahmud, Director General of Directorate General of Food, and Md. Zahangir Alam, Chief Controller, Dhaka Rationing inaugurated the programme in Chand Uddan, Mohammadpur of Dhaka City Corporation.Nutrition International (NI) and Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) will be supporting the advocacy for fortified rice in the programme, said the WFP news release.
Under the programme, the price of fortified rice was set lower than the market price, at Tk. 30 (US #0.36) per kg for a maximum of 5 kg of rice per household per day to families with lower income.
It is estimated that each household will be able to buy on average 20kg fortified rice per month. About 720,000 people in 144,000 households will benefit from this OMS.
Fortified rice will be sold six days a week in 120 centers across Dhaka North and Dhaka South City Corporations from 9 am till 5pm in selected shop outlets.
WFP aims to ensure distribution of fortified rice through the OMS programme to enhance the food security and nutritional wellbeing of vulnerable households who consume diets deficient in micronutrients.
“Fortifying the rice will provide essential vitamins and minerals when households are compelled to compromise food diversity due to access to markets and income opportunities during the COVID-19 crisis.” said Director General Sarwar Mahmud, Directorate General of Food.“It is also a cost-effective approach to address nutrient deficiencies in food aid to reach urban low income disadvantaged poor population,” he added.
“Food insecurity has far reaching, long lasting impacts on the poor, particularly those living in areas undergoing rapid urbanization. The lack of access to a varied, nutritious diet is one of the leading causes of micronutrient deficiency and malnutrition in Bangladesh,” said WFP’s Country Representative Richard Ragan at the event.
Regular OMS is a public food distribution programme, which sells rice at subsidized prices round the year when and where necessary for stabling the market price and support the low income population.