Poor Bangladeshis spend 87 percent of food budget on rice

June 19th, 2008 - 6:11 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, June 19 (Xinhua) The poor and people in low-income section in Bangladesh spend nearly 87 percent of their food budget on rice and the rest on protein and vegetables, giving rise to widespread malnutrition, said a government report. “The share of rice in the total expenditure on food by the households in the bottom quintile increased to 87 percent in 2008, ” said the latest quarterly report by the food and disaster management ministry.

The share of expenditure on rice in the total food expenditure increased from 54 percent in 2006 to 59 percent in 2007 in the backdrop of the soaring global prices of food, leading English-language newspaper The Financial Express reported Thursday quoting the report.

But in 2008 it marked a record 28 percent increase, forcing the poor people to consume little or no protein, such as meat, vegetables and fruits, said the report.

It said the rise in food prices is having a serious impact on food consumption and nutrition levels of the poor and low income people.

Poor households who are net food purchasers and whose incremental income lags behind inflation are at the greatest risk of higher levels of malnutrition as such households are forced to spend a greater proportion of their limited income on rice, the report said.

Bangladesh suffered huge losses of food grains particularly rice due to two great floods and cyclone Sidr last year.

The prices of different items of rice in local market almost doubled or tripled over the past one year.

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