POST TIME: 23 May, 2019 11:20:19 PM / LAST MODIFIED: 24 May, 2019 01:10:05 AM
Food security and nature preservation

Food security and nature preservation

Communities and leaders have unanimously called for protecting the natural resources to ensure food security of marginal population together with protecting the biodiversity from further degradation in the vast Barind tract. This call comes at a time when Bangladesh has shrugged off scenes of hunger, starvation and malnutrition to emerge as a country self-sufficient in food production.

Any hope about food and nutrition automatically brings back memories of the decades after independence, when the country was perennially short of rice, the staple food. Several back to back natural disasters plus a famine in 1974 following a cyclone, ravaged the nation, triggering a decade long struggle for survival. Bangladesh, once known as a country of privation, is now a nation where no one dies due to scarcity of rice.

Government initiatives over the last 10 years have ensured enough rice production with the last two years seeing bumper growth. In addition, there have been development of drought and flood resistant rice varieties, making the suffering of the past firmly locked in history books.

However, the focus of food security should emphasise on safeguarding nature because indiscriminate ravaging has reduced arable land.

Chemicals used to make the produce look more appealing lead to disastrous consequences. The government has to emphasise on organic items so farmers are interested to discard chemical based fertilisers. The authority should also disseminate knowledge about nutritious food and adopt strategic approaches to protect wild life, forests plus water bodies.  In rural areas, development organsiations have been running projects to popularise food security measures with attention given to northern Bangladesh which once faced seasonal hunger or monga. In these areas, NGOs and development bodies can help farmers cultivate new items and help them diversify their crops.

But the pre-condition to food security is the realisation that nature has been devastated enough and a united move is needed to counter any more decimation of forest or hill areas. To ensure this, a directive from the top is needed since political nexus between crooked elements and corrupt elements in law is the main cause for willful ecological degradation.

Such acts cannot be tackled by the masses since those who destroy nature are usually part of powerful syndicates. Food security and nature conservation go hand in hand; with firm government decisions to uproot all nefarious cliques, both can be ensured.