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Lenen Rahaman, ED, Mati Bangladesh

Three years of a journey of finding poverty dimensions worldwide, together with Oxford University and ATD fourth world, gave us new insights into working with the people living in poverty.The findings of this international research demonstrate that the genuine participation of people living in poverty in cooperation with others is possible in international research and generates new insights. A majority of the participants involved in the research in Bangladesh noted that in part because of the Merging of Knowledge methodology, everyone’s experience and opinion could be valued and considered in equal measure. Participants also noted that the methodology enabled them to understand new aspects of poverty that had not occurred to them prior to engaging with people from such different backgrounds.The international research work summarizes several major findings, providing a clear account of the multidimensional nature of poverty in Bangladesh. Further, many of the factors associated with poverty were identified to be closely interdependent. Beyond the more familiar attributes related to housing conditions, work, health, food, financial security, etc., this work highlights a number of less recognized aspects of poverty that were identified by the research groups, many of which are rarely considered in descriptions of poverty or captured in current multidimensional poverty indices.One consideration concerns the way people are treated by others, including across wider society, its services and institutions. Another relates to the psychological and physical suffering people living in poverty experience due to permanent tension brought about from their daily struggle to survive and the continued neglect of their efforts to make a better life for themselves.

 

Research findings on the multiple dimensions of poverty thus offer lessons for formulating policies both in Bangladesh and more generally across developing countries. Research outcomes can also be used to explore ways poverty reduction efforts led by development agencies and government can be made more effective. On the other hand, various economic policies aimed at addressing poverty in all its forms may not ultimately be successful if a multiple dimensions framework is overlooked, leading to questions about their overall effectiveness.

Future work on these newly identified dimensions of poverty in Bangladesh will require government policymakers and regulators to conduct a thorough analysis of the pros and cons associated with the research outcomes. In this connection, research outcomes should be shared more widely with different government bodies and institutions. However, it cannot be said that existing policy failures are merely the consequence of inaccurate results or errors in data on global poverty reduction efforts over the decades. Encouraging the inclusion of people living in poverty and their participation in various policies and programs, including in the design and decision-making process has yet to be fully carried out by those working in the development sector.


Without identifying and addressing these concerns, achieving socioeconomic well-being in many developing countries will remain an elusive goal.

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Abuse of antibiotics to increase weight of chickens is alarmingly on the rise. Antibiotic resistance is happening in the human body in many ways especially starting from food intake. Consequently, everyone involved in poultry production, processing, marketing, supply and consumer level must work together to keep people healthy and ensure safe food. At the same time, the existing laws and regulations should be properly implemented.

Speakers came up with the opinions at the round table conference titled 'Poultry Value Chain Securing Policy Strategy' at The Daily Samkal office in the capital’s Tejgaon on Wednesday. 

The conference was organized under the auspices of non-governmental organisation 'Mati Bangladesh' and The Daily Samakal in collaboration with USAID.

Sheikh Rokan, associate editor of The Daily Samakal, moderated the meeting with Abu Sayeed Khan, advisory editor of The Daily Samakal in the chair.

Professor Dr Madan Mohan Dey of Agricultural Science Department of Texas State University, Aktaruzzaman Khan, Fulbright Scholar of Texas State University, and Rakhi Chakraborty, associate professor of Bangladesh Agricultural University, joined the meeting virtually and presented their valued articles.

Professor Madan Mohan said, along with the use of harmful chemicals including antibiotics, hormones, growth promoters at various stages of the poultry value chain, health risks are being created due to the contamination of poultry feed and the infection of germs at the stage of poultry sales. Despite knowing the facts, the stakeholders are not taking steps to stop those malpractices. Marginal farmers are forced into practices harmful to public health due to financial risk. In other areas of the value chain, the problem remains due to non-enforcement of existing laws and regulations. Hence, a standard guideline and its implementation are essential to secure the value chain. Moreover, training and awareness campaigns of the stakeholders are badly needed.

The meeting was addressed by Agriculturist Zikrul Hakim, managing director of APYZ Safe Foods Agro Limited; SM Nazer Hossain, vice chairperson of Consumer Association of Bangladesh; Dr Biplab Kumar Pramanik, general secretary of the World Poultry Science Association; Anjan Majumdar, coordinator of Poultry Professional Bangladesh; Shahidur Rahman, professor of Poultry Science Department of Bangladesh Agricultural University; Professor Rezaul Karim Siddiqui,  general secretary and executive director of BSAFE Foundation; Dr. Shakila Farooq, chief scientific officer of Bangladesh Livestock Research Institute, Laila Akhtar, director of Safe Food Authority; Md Shahidul Islam, development director of Mati Bangladesh.

Conveying greetings on behalf of Mati Bangladesh, Shahidul Islam said, “Though malnutrition is not evident, our lack of nutrition and unequal distribution of food still remains a hidden hunger. Lack of safe food has become a deadly problem today. Harmful chemicals, pesticides, preservatives, dyes, antibiotics, hormones are being used in food products. People are suffering from various diseases and dying by eating those. Most worryingly, the new generation is growing up with sick bodies and minds. You have to take initiative from your own stance to get rid of this malpractice.”

Agriculturist Zikrul Hakim said, “The use of antibiotics is increasing due to some common problems prevailing in the poultry sector. Nevertheless, farmers who are following the guidelines for antibiotic use should be acclaimed. Besides, those who are abusing, they need to be brought under punishment.”

Anjan Majumdar said that if you want to change the poultry value chain, you have to change the management. The claim of using excessive antibiotics is not fully flawless. If these were the facts, the chicks could not have been saved. Many times, wrong message is being forwarded to common people in this regard. Everyone, including the media, must be careful to prevent misinformation. Poultry board should be formed along with counseling of marginal farmers.

SM Nazer Hossain said, “It is important to reach the correct information at the consumer level to ensure safe food. Proper enforcement of laws and oversight by food safety authorities is essential to prevent misuse of antibiotics at the farm level.”

Biplab Kumar Pramanik said, “Antibiotics are a global problem. Studies have shown that amoxicillin is being used in poultry. Speaking from 20 years of experience in this sector, it is not used in poultry. What is the basis of the antibiotic resistance that is being talked about in the poultry sector? More research is necessary whether antibiotics are actually being used in the poultry sector or to what extent the sector is responsible for resistance in the human body.”

Shahidur Rahman said, “Research should be done on whether the appropriate amount of antibiotics is being used in the poultry sector, and if so, how much harm is being done. To my knowledge, there is no excessive use of antibiotics in poultry. Again, there was no harmful situation was created at the consumer level.”

“Poultry sector stakeholders should increase their knowledge. There are so many contradictions in the existing laws and regulations. In this work, the coordinated efforts of all organizations, including the safe food authority, consumer rights protection directorate, ministries are necessary,” said Professor Rezaul Karim Siddiqui.

Rakhi Chakraborty said, “Although there is no lack of knowledge, there is a lack of implementation by farmers. Antibiotics are necessary to keep poultry healthy. But more is being used than needed. The supervision should be increased to stop it.”

“Farmers are encouraged to use antibiotics from the village pharmacy. Whereas humans are not compliant with antibiotic use, abuse is common in the poultry sector. It does not have the necessary manpower to control it. The capacity of safe food authority needs to be enhanced,” said Aktaruzzaman Khan.

Shakhila Faruk said, “People are leading to take safe food due to increasing purchasing capacity. Chickens need to be protected all the way from processing, marketing, delivery and reaching the consumer. Rules and regulations must be implemented by strengthening the institutions of the government.”

Laila Akhtar said, “The biggest challenge for us is to provide safe food. To ensure this, three rules and 11 regulations have been made in the light of the law. Four more regulations are being formulated.”

“It will not be right to claim that the poultry sector is in 100 percent compliance. Again, it cannot be said that the sector exists in anomalies. Actions should be taken in cases where rules are violated. The state has to come forward in this regard,” opined Abu Sayeed Khan.


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Mati Bangladesh conducted a meeting with Bangladesh’s Honorable Education Minister, Dr. Dipu Moni, MP, to present the project concept of “360 Multi-Sectoral Holistic Approach for Adolescents at Secondary Schools in Bangladesh” for the all-inclusive development of their life skills, digital literacy, social and environmental awareness, health, hygiene, and wellbeing, as well as the inclusion of an assessment system in their academic curriculum. It was a productive discussion that ended with the Hon’ble Minister appreciating the model approach and her gracious approval to provide administrative support to pilot the model concept in 100 rural and semi-urban secondary schools of Bangladesh. As a result, we are excited to put this fantastic concept into action. Mati Bangladesh expresses its heartfelt gratitude to our Honorable Minister for her time and support.

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