About 43 percent of workers in the country's lucrative ready-made garments (RMG) industry are suffering from malnutrition, according to Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), a Swiss-based international organisation.
About 7.9 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Bangladesh is lost annually due to anemia among the workers, said Moniruzzaman Bipul, portfolio lead of GAIN, while presenting the keynote paper at a meeting.
He came up with the remarks while addressing a regional sensitisation meeting organised by the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishment (DIFE) and GAIN at Sonargaon Hotel in the capital on Monday.
Citing a report of the World Health Organization (WHO) from 2003, he said adequate nourishment can raise national productivity by 20%. Ensuring access to nutritious and safe food for the workers can ensure utilisation of full potential or productivity of workers.
Although nutrition interventions have a significant impact on productivity, the issue is always often side-lined, he said, calling for the improvement of nutrition knowledge of workers and increased availability and accessibility to nutritious and safe food for them.
Proper nutrition intake for around 35 to 42 lakh workers in the country's RMG sector will generate sustainable business growth, he insisted.
KM Abdus Salam, secretary of the Ministry of Labour and Employment, also attended the programme as the chief guest.
The meeting was chaired by Shib Nath Roy, inspector general of DIFE, while Dr Rudaba Khondker, country director of GAIN Bangladesh; Dr Md Mustafizur Rahman, joint inspector general of DIFE, Dr Muttaquina Hossain, associate scientist of icddr,b; FazleeShamim Ehsan, director of BKMEA and Hanifur Rahman Lotus, chair-health standing committee of BGMEA, were also present there among others.