After his gallbladder ruptured, which doctors believed might have been induced by “harmful food”, computer engineer Didarul Faruk changed his career path and initiated an organic vegetable farm at his village home in Gazipur's Kaltia area in 2017.
Again, when he learnt that broiler chicken meat can be unhealthy, he engaged in “safe” broiler farming under a project called “Improving Food Safety in Bangladesh” -- jointly implemented by the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO-UN).
Faruk now has several outlets called “Sabuj Pran”, selling broiler meat, in Dhaka.
Like Faruk, some 1,000 poultry farmers in 25 pilot upazilas across the country received support on safe broiler production practices. They also formed 50 farmers' associations that enabled an effective network with local retail buyers to promote safe broiler meat sale centres.
This is a wide-ranging food safety project with a budget of $15.6 million – for the period of July 1, 2012 to December 31, 2018 – funded by the government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Marking the completion of the project, a terminal workshop was held yesterday at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) in Dhaka.
Notable outcomes of the project include formation of the Bangladesh Food Safety Authority (BFSA), formation of Bangladesh Food Safety Laboratory Network, improved food safety compliance in street food, fisheries, horticulture and poultry value chains etc.
A numbers of presentations were made at the programme, where stakeholders also took part in discussions.
David Doolan, the deputy FAO representative in Bangladesh, said “It [ensuring food safety] is not the sole responsibility of one player; it's a shared responsibility. What's concerning is that no one seemingly wants to take responsibility.”
Speakers stressed on the engagement of the private sector in the process of ensuring efficient monitoring and a traceability system to provide safer food for everyone.
Harry Verweij, ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and Mohammad Mahfuzul Hoque, BFSA chairman, also spoke at the programme.