World food day and future of food security in BD
"Grow, Nourish, Sustain Together: Our actions" is the slogan accepted as the world food day slogan for World Food Day-2020, which has been observed yesterday on 16th October. This day has a special side over the common observation for the last several years and this specialty imposed upon by the pandemic caused by noble SARS-COV-2. To date this virus affected 35 million and caused more than 1 million deaths all over the world of which 3.6 million people affected in Bangladesh and around 5.5 thousand deaths. The percentage of deaths worldwide and Bangladesh are 2.95% and 1.4% (based on hundred based percentage), respectively.
Irrespective of system error the death toll in Bangladesh is around 50% less than the total cases reported all over the globe. It definitely raises a hope to the people of Bangladesh and let's see how the Nutritious Foods and Sustainable food habits followed by the common people in Bangladesh with a growing together mentality of the dwellers of Bangladesh help them to sustain with a considerable confidence during this pandemic.
Hard immunity has been prescribed as the best weapon to fight against this invisible enemy. If we look for the sources of immunity of human, we can roughly divide them in 5 major categories, namely smart food habit, enough rest, stress management, physical exercise, and avoiding intoxicated drinks. Among these five major factors Bangladeshi people enjoy very relaxed life because of their very low expectation level and the citizens categorized as low-income group have the opportunity to do very hard work which naturally boost their immunity.
In addition, the village people have the opportunity to eat fresh foods with organic vegetables and plenty of fishes from natural sources. Such excellent opportunities help them to boost up their immunity with considerable confidence and get help from the social and state-imposed embargo on drinking any intoxicated drinks. It is also evident from recent antibody-based studies among the dwellers of Dhaka City which reported that about 50% of citizens have been affected by COVID-19 while they are still passing a very normal life. This is surprising but not a miraculous fact if we analyze the food habits of the Bangladeshi individuals.
Historically Bangladeshi people were privileged to take a lot of spices like ginger, clove, turmeric, garlic, onion, cinnamon, cardamom and other additives full of secondary metabolites to enhance their immune system. The habit of intaking a lot of fishes which make them "machevate Banglalee" and enhance their immunity significantly. Moreover, the excellent researches of Agricultural Sectors increase the availability of different kinds of fruits and vegetables along with the grains all over the year and bring the prices very cheap compared to neighbouring countries or first worlds.
For example, the guava, one of very nutritious fruits, becomes very much available with a very cheap price, 1 kilogram will cost only 50 cents! This exceptional food habits and availability of nutritious foods boost the immunity of the people of Bangladesh to a very satisfactory level.
The practices to use chemically synthesized preservatives and the cheap colouring agents, methyl orange, textile dyes and non-food grade colouring agents, to save the production cost and making inflated profits have been attributed as the major challenges to ensure adulteration free foods for all. Most of these additives have been reported to cause different diseases like Kidney failure, Cancer and so on. Here we can note that, the number of cancer patients has increased alarmingly, if we compare the data available for the last 20 years. In addition, the threats and complications related to reproductive health, for example polycystic ovary, becoming very common for the people living in urban areas.
The food sources for poultries, hatcheries and other farms have been reported to be contaminated with heavy metals and chlorinated compounds which have potential to mutate any DNA followed by the personalized diseases related to DNA mutation.
The establishment of Food Safety Authority provides a very good support to ensure safe food for the citizens of Bangladesh, while the limitations to act independently and lack of experts from all the sectors related to food greatly impose some obstacles. Additionally, trying to bring any change by only implementing of laws in a third world country will never ever be the successful way to eradicate the bad practices available everywhere.
In these circumstances, it is only way to make people aware about the bad impacts and long-term effects of taking adulterated foods. Consultancies with honest, research oriented and designated personnel could help the Bangladesh Government to ensure safe and nutritious food for all the citizens irrespective of income level. Definitely such changes that will be brought through the social awareness and delivering appropriate knowledge to the producers and the consumers will be a sustainable change towards ensuring safe foods for all.
Finally, we can conclude that our conjoint and constructive actions to ensure enough food with minimum possible chemical additives and unnecessary chemical fertilizer free production of vegetables, crops and other ingredients will ensure safe food for all. Which definitely allow us to establish a healthy and nutritionally sound generation and grow together to establish a very prosperous and compassionate society that will be sustainable over time with very minimum threats of deterioration.
Ensuring safe food will definitely help us to make our future generation safe from any kind of pandemic that could be more harmful than the COVID-19. So, come forward from your own position and change thyself to ensure a country with safe food and make the slogan "Grow, Nourish, Sustain Together: Our actions" true and effective.
The writer is an Associate Professor, Department of Nutrition and Food Science, Daffodil International University