Food policy and food security: a potential impact of food policy on household food security in rural Bangladesh

Sultana, Naznin (2020) Food policy and food security: a potential impact of food policy on household food security in rural Bangladesh. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Food policy is a strategy that any government should pursue as part of their public policy. Food policy includes aspects such as food production, distribution, consumption, availability, purchasing procedures, and techniques of food processing and marketing. For developing the necessary level of food security, the food policy is working as an initiative at the domestic level which is also helpful to ensure a safe and adequate supply of food for the general public. In this research we study the impact of food support, which is part of the food policy, on the household’s daily calorie intake, as well as food security index, by using telephone interview survey data from three sub-districts of the Rajshahi district (Puthia, Paba and Charghat) in Bangladesh. The survey was conducted using 160 households from these three sub-districts, and among them 67 households (41.9 percent) were food support receivers while the rest, i.e. 93 households (58.1 percent) were food support non-receivers. In this research, the daily mean calorie intake, head count ratio, shortfall or surplus index and food security index are calculated to identify the extent of food insecurity among the respondents. The PSM (propensity score matching technique) is used to assess the effects of food policy on rural household’s food security. Results have shown that, dissimilarities exist in unobserved characteristics between the groups of food support receivers and non-receivers, as food prices and agricultural production may influence the household’s decision to receive government food support. This influenced both the calorie intake and food security index of the sample respondents. A comparison of the means of the matched sample, showed that the two groups did not differ in food expenditure. Therefore, the impact of government food support on the calorie intake or food security index in the present study may not be underestimated, due to the likely heterogeneity in agricultural production. The results also suggest that natural disasters like floods, cyclone, drought, and improper distribution of food which are unobserved characteristics for the sample may influence food support received. Descriptive statistics suggested that the age of the household head and income earning member did not differ in the matched sample. Therefore, households’ monthly income did not likely differ between the two groups. The results also indicate that there is no proper distribution of food supplied by the government among the rural households in the study area as well as food support is insufficient compared to necessity and, thus, food support receivers and non-receivers were unlikely to differ in this regard. Finally, the researcher generated some policy suggestions which might be useful to policy makers as well as decision-makers of the relevant authorities. The study recommended that government should keep an updated database including necessary information about the poor and marginalized people; should take measures to reduce corruption in the case of food distribution, and extend the food coverage to cover more poor people in order to implement the food support program effectively. Food policy can be efficiently implemented in a well-functioning socio-economic system. The study concludes that measures such as employment generation, control of food prices, support for producing more food locally and increasing the amount of subsidy for the agricultural sector could contribute to solving the problem of food insecurity at the level of rural households in the study area.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 15203
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 141-163).
Keywords: Food Policy, Food Security, Econometric Analysis, Propensity Score Matching Technique (PSM), Bangladesh
Department(s): Grenfell Campus > School of Science and the Environment > Environmental Policy Institute
Date: December 2020
Date Type: Submission
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Nutrition policy--Bangladesh--Rājshāhi District; Food security--Bangladesh--Rājshāhi District; Rājshāhi District (Bangladesh)--Population--Attitudes.

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