By Sulin Chowdhury
To read the IFPRP Review and Early Results Workshop Proceedings, click here. (PDF 793 KB)
IFPRI, Bangladesh Institute of Developmental Studies (BIDS), and the University of Illinois- Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) are collaborating on a five-year research effort in Bangladesh: the Integrated Food Policy Research Program (IFPRP). Launched in December 2016, IFPRP is the World Bank-financed research component of the Ministry of Food’s Modern Food Storage Facilities Project (MFSFP), which aims to develop the nation’s food security capabilities via food storage improvements; analysis on grain nutrition and transport, and capacity building. On April 6, IFPRI organized a workshop in Dhaka in which research partners shared research findings on food grain storage in Bangladesh and discussed project progress. The workshop attracted over 100 participants, with attendance from partner institutions and high-level government officials from the Bangladesh Ministry of Food.
The workshop opened with partner institutions IFPRI, BIDS, and UIUC discussing the importance of improving food security in Bangladesh and their respective roles in contributing towards this objective under the program. IFPRI Country Representative for Bangladesh Dr. Akhter Ahmed inaugurated the session by discussing the numerous roles the IFPRI-led research venture is undertaking. Dr. Ahmed mentioned that this program provides significant opportunities for IFPRI to explore research questions relating to optimal grain stock levels and grain distribution.
Thereafter, MFSFP Project Director Mr. Md. Gazi Ur Rahman discussed IFPRI’s role in examining the status and impact of warehouse dilapidation across the nation’s numerous grain storage facilities. Mr. Rahman also expressed the importance of fortifying future food grains, an activity which IFPRP expects to complete by the end of its five-year duration.
IFPRI Division Director of the Development Strategy and Governance Division (DSGD) Dr. Paul Dorosh elaborated on IFPRI’s vast experience in Bangladesh working side-by-side the Bangladesh government in conducting high quality food policy research. He believes this partnership will be further strengthened as IFPRI works with the Ministry of Food and other government bodies in implementing IFPRP. Ministry of Food’s Mr. Kaikobad Hussein and Director General-Food Mr. Badrul Hassan both emphasized the importance of communication between the partners and government throughout the duration of the program.
The technical session focused on IFPRP’s implementation progress. MFSP consultant Dr. Zahurul Karim stated that for the program to accomplish its food security objectives, it is crucial to build rapport with officials at every level of governance (from central headquarters to the district level); assure high quality survey data through continuous field monitoring; and foster more involvement and encourage feedback from grain storage managers when implementing IFPRP’s grain storage survey.
Thereafter, IFPRI Research Fellow Dr. Kindie Getnet provided an overview of IFPRP’s progress and early results. Key accomplishments include assembling a highly qualified team of researchers and the establishment of an official office; developing training courses (both local to Bangladesh and abroad) related to policy analysis by The UIUC for government officials involved in the food sector; and initiating IFPRP’s survey on grain stock and losses at public storage facilities in Bangladesh. Dr. Getnet expects numerous milestones to be reached by July 2017, which includes a wide-scale analysis of grain loss in the country’s public food distribution system.
Using IFPRI’s nationally representative 2015 Bangladesh Integrated Household Survey (BIHS), Dr. Getnet and Dr. Dorosh presented results on estimated levels and determinants of private food grain stock in Bangladesh. The results show that the total quantity of cereal production, grain storage capacity, financial savings, and having a male household head are all associated with greater levels of household food grains stocked, and that households located in flood-prone areas and coastal areas are less likely to hold grain stocks at the household level.
Overall, IFPRI’s workshop was key for communicating ideas and activities between partner institutions and the government. The workshop ensured that key stakeholders in establishing food policies in Bangladesh are informed of the program’s status, and ensured that partners can continue to work together.
Photo credit (above): Nazrul Islam, IFPRI-PRSSP
Slider image: Kris Robinson, Flickr