Speakers at a seminar yesterday said the country wastes food crops worth several thousand crore taka each year during the post-harvest period alone, which could be saved using apt technology.
They said generating awareness among farmers and other stakeholders would also help address the issue. In addition, capacity of the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) and storage facility have to be increased.
Right to Food Bangladesh (RFB) and Christian Aid arranged the seminar on “State's Role in Tackling Food Loss and Right to Food” in the capital's Cirdap.
Presenting a paper, Sanwar Sayeed Shaheen, general secretary of Bangladesh Krishi Sangbadik Forum, said the post-harvest waste of food crops was 77.5 lakh tonnes in 2015-16 fiscal year -- 14 percent of the total produced crops.
The waste was worth around Tk 30,400 crore that year, he said, referring to a survey by Horticulture Export Development Foundation (Hortex Foundation).
Shaheen said the losses had been counted from farmers' production to reaching consumers. At farm level, reasons behind food crop waste included breaking, scattering, insect infection, lack of applying technology, and drying.
At marketing level, the reasons were storage limitation, inefficient transportation and packaging.
Referring to a recent study by Bangladesh Rice Research Institute, Shaheen said about 70 percent of the rice was processed using traditional husking machine in the last fiscal year. The process caused waste of 1 to 1.5 percent or about 3.5 lakh tonnes of the total produced rice (about 5 crore tonnes) that year.
Use of “rubber huller” technology and moisture meter will increase rice production, he said.
Welcoming the participants, RFB General Secretary Mohsin Ali said a law on right to food has to be enacted in the country to ensure food security.
Emphasising on generating awareness, former Bangladesh Bank deputy governor Khondkar Ibrahim Khaled said people have to play major role in awareness campaigns about crops waste.
Manjurul Hannan, managing director of Hortex Foundation, said timely meteorological forecast can save crops from untimely flood and other natural disasters.
Prof Khaleda Islam, a teacher at Institute of Nutrition and Food Science of Dhaka University, said food crop waste has been depriving many poor people from having sufficient food.