CGIAR agriculture for nutrition and health program supports capacity development for food safety in Bangladesh

Scientists from the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH) have trained more than 30 stakeholders working on food safety in Bangladesh on different frameworks for food safety risk assessment that could improve safety of food in the country.

The training was held 22–25 October 2018 and co-hosted by ILRI and International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the implementing partners of the A4NH research program.

Food safety is an increasingly important development challenge in Bangladesh. Food-borne diseases are responsible for an enormous health burden that negatively affects livelihoods, and the nutritional and economic status of millions of people in the country. There is an urgent need for technical and institutional solutions to better manage food safety risks in dynamic and informal markets in the country and in South Asia in general.


Participants at the training workshop (photo credit: IFPRI).

At the training, participants, who included researchers, government officials and other stakeholders, were exposed to quantitative risk assessment methods including basics of hazards and risk assessment and risk communication and different frameworks for risk assessment. ILRI scientists Hung Nguyen, Johanna Lindahl and Sinh Dang explained the use of analysis tools and databases like @Risk.


Participants report back from group discussion (photo credit: ILRI/Hung Nguyen).

Participants worked together in mapping food safety projects in Bangladesh. They identified the gaps around food safety including limited access to current and authentic sources of data on the subject. Participants also deliberated on the establishment of a taskforce on food safety risk assessment at the country level such as the one already established in Vietnam which faces similar food safety issues.

During their stay in Bangladesh, the A4NH scientists also visited the Bangladesh Livestock Research Institute (BLRI) and met with Nathu Ram Sarka, BLRI’s director general to explore collaboration opportunities between BLRI and A4NH in food safety issues.


Nathu Ram Sarke, BLRI’s director general (second from right) meets with scientists from A4NH research program at his office (photo credit: ILRI).

Bangladesh is one of five focus countries of the A4NH program along with Ethiopia, India, Nigeria and Vietnam. While A4NH has invested much efforts in other Asian focus countries like India and Vietnam to improve food safety, this training is first-of-its-kind activity by A4NH in Bangladesh and opens a door for further engagement between the program and stakeholders in the county towards safer food for this South Asian country.

A4NH, an integrative research program, responds to the global challenge of improving food security, nutrition, and health, by taking a perspective that begins with consumption, rather than supply, of healthy, affordable, and safe foods. A4NH offers an innovative look at the relationship between agriculture, nutrition, and health through research that strengthens the knowledge base and new partnerships that lead to real outcomes.

See a training course on food safety risk assessment recently organized in Thailand