Food security and economic development

After China and India, Bangladesh holds the third largest hungry population, with over 60 million people having inadequate food resources, leading to growth stunting and reduced mental and physical capacities. While Bangladesh is nearly self-sufficient in rice production, food security remains an elusive goal. Currently, an alarming 43% of children under-five in Bangladesh are stunted due to continuous malnourishment as a result of poor feeding habits and lack of access to nutritious foods. The average Bangladeshi diet lacks diversification with 75% of calories consumed coming from rice. Rice is the main staple that alone constitutes the lion share (96%) of total food grain produced in Bangladesh. Agricultural production grew at a rate of 4.36% in the FY 2010-11 with the population growing at a rate of 1.5666%.

The availability of and access to, domestically produced food is a key issue affecting basic survival, nutrition, national security, and stability, making agricultural growth vital to addressing these challenges. Additionally, agriculture provides jobs for 80% of the total population but contributes to only 22% of the gross domestic product. Only 37% of Bangladesh’s total area is arable land but natural disasters can affect 30% of this land. Though the number of people in the world suffering from hunger and poverty has risen to more than one billion, the country has made significant progress in boosting national food production. However, a large part of the population still lacks access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food. Ensuring that everyone has food security is therefore a high priority for the Government of Bangladesh.

World Vision Bangladesh is positioning itself more strongly in addressing these challenges to development by improving agricultural production and raising small farmer incomes and rural wages. Apart from these, in FY 2011 World Vision Bangladesh led the situation with target beneficiaries of 155,844 with a significant rate at 87% through different agriculture and non-farm training, demonstration, input/economic assistance and awareness building programs in scaling up yields and effective interventions to address food security and economic development as well.

Facts About Food Security

  • Bangladesh has increased its food grain production over the past 28 years from 11.8 million metric tons in 1974 to more than 34.5 million metric tons (mmt) in 2010-11
  • 81.3% of the population consumes fewer than 2190 kcal per day where for people in most developing countries the daily calorie intake is 2828
  • 30% of women have low body mass index (BMI less than 18.5)
  • Women eat last and eat less. They are the most malnourished group in Bangladesh.
  • 50% of all Bangladeshi babies are born underweight.
  • Frequent floods, cyclones and other natural disasters pose special problems for assuring food security. It is further complicated by gender-related factors-women are heavily engaged in agriculture but do not have access to extension services or other inputs like seeds and fertilizer. They are also usually the last to eat at mealtimes
  • The Government relies increasingly on the private sector to help address food security, a positive trend.

World Vision Bangladesh Response

Food Security and Economic Development (FSED) operated under 52 Area Development Programs (ADPs) in 6 WVB divisions. Agriculture and non-farm are the two sub-sectors under this sector. World Vision Bangladesh’s summary performance of Food Security and Economic Development Program addresses the following capacity to respond:

  • Successfully managed large food security program funded by USAID
  • Management of agricultural and non-farm programs under rural ADPs
  • Participation of women in agricultural and non-farm programs has increased
  • Promotion of organic agricultural practices
  • Successfully promoted Farmer Field Schools(FFS)
  • Successfully established community based agricultural extension system
  • Developed agricultural extension facilitators

Goal: To sustain food security and income thereby enhancing livelihood capacity of poor and extreme poor.


  1. Grow in primary agricultural production through intensifying crop production and expanding non-crop agriculture.
  2. Diversify income sources creating business development opportunities and providing necessary support for both farm and non-farm micro and small enterprises (MSEs).
  3. Improving market access for farmers and non-farm operators through identifying better links to markets for products in high value and growing demand.
  4. Forging private-NGO-public partnerships to build up national and international collaborations and networking to facilitate improved access to specialized departments and innovative technologies and resources.

Key Results

  • 100% of farmers have received training on improved crops production technology
  • 93% of farmers have received training on livestock
  • 109 % of farmers trained on forestry
  • 98 % of farmers received agricultural inputs
  • 93% of farmers attended in Field Farmers School (FFS) program
  • 100% of members trained on non-farm skill development
  • 88% of farmers have received crop inputs
  • 73% of persons received inputs for livestock rearing
  • 84% of persons received inputs on homestead forestry
  • 42% of persons received inputs on non-farm
  • 100% of community members received training on non-farm skill development

Download Factsheet


  1. Quarterly Report on Crop Prospects and Food Situation/FAO, October 2011
  2. Annual Monitoring and Evaluation Report FY 2011, World Vision Bangladesh
  3. World Vision Bangladesh, Secondary Strategy 2009-2013, Food Security and Economic Development Sector
  4. Health Situation of Bangladesh, November 2011
  5. Food Situation Monitoring Report (July-September 2011), Food Planning and Monitoring Unit(FPMU), Ministry of Food and Disaster Management