Global Food System and Climate Change in Bangladesh

The hunger situation in Bangladesh continues to remain “serious”, with one in every seven persons suffering from undernourishment, according to the 2019 Global Hunger Index (GHI).

Bangladesh ranks 88th on 2019 Global Hunger Index, with 1 in 7 people in the country undernourished, the report states.

The GHI, published by Concern Worldwide and Welthungerhilfe, showed that Bangladesh has made strides in fighting hunger and undernourishment since 2000 due to steady economic growth.This is indicated by a reduction of stunted growth among children under five, from 58.5 percent in 1997 to 40.2 percent in 2011. In 2018 is has further dropped to 36.2 percent, according to the GHI. Besides this notable reduction in prevalence of stunted growth by half, the child mortality rate is also reduced by nearly three times during the last two decades.

However, despite these improvements, hunger and undernourishment of children under five in Bangladesh remains troubling. Women and children in the vulnerable segment of the population are still prone to be affected by malnutrition and undernutrition.

While the proportion of undernourished population dropped to 14.7 percent in 2018 from 16.9 percent in 2011, the prevalence of wasting — or acute malnutrition — among children under five years rose to 15.7 percent in 2012 from 12.5 percent in 2002. It only started decreasing to 14.4 percent last year, according to the GHI.

Bangladeshis consume a diet that centres on rice, from which the population receives about two-thirds of their calories. While for some people vegetables and fish are important components of the diet besides rice, for many others, dietary diversity remains low and micronutrient deficiencies are widespread.

How does Climate change affect the global food system?

Climate change increases the threats to those who currently already suffer from hunger and undernutrition. There is a strong correlation between GHI scores and levels of vulnerability/readiness to climate change. Countries with high GHI scores are often also highly vulnerable to climate change, and have the least capacity to adapt. In contrast, several countries with low GHI scores are the least vulnerable to climate change and at the same time the most ready to adapt and protect themselves.

Climate change affects the quality and safety of food. It can lead to production of toxins on crops and worsen the nutritional value of cultivated food – for example, it can reduce the concentrations of protein, zinc, and iron in crops. As a result, by 2050 an estimated additional 175 million people could be deficient in zinc and an additional 122 million people could experience protein deficiencies.


Source: Global Hunger Index 2019

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