The government will provide fortified rice at lower than the market price for the poor people of Dhaka city through open market sale (OMS).
The price has been set at Tk30 per kilogram, and a household with lower income can have a maximum of five kilograms per day.
It is estimated that each household will be able to buy on average 20 kilograms of fortified rice per month. About 720,000 people in 144,000 households will benefit from this OMS.
Fortified rice will be sold six days a week in 120 centres across Dhaka North and Dhaka South City Corporations from 9 am until 5 pm in selected shop outlets.
In this regard, the Ministry of Food and the World Food Programme (WFP) formalised the inclusion of fortified rice on Monday.
Richard Ragan, country representative of the WFP, Sarwar Mahmud, director general of Directorate General of Food, and Md Zahangir Alam, chief controller, Dhaka Rationing, inaugurated the programme at Chand Uddan of Mohammadpur in the capital.
Nutrition International (NI) and Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) will be supporting the advocacy for fortified rice in the programme.
The WFP aims to ensure distribution of fortified rice through the OMS programme to enhance the food security and nutritional wellbeing of vulnerable households who consume diets deficient in micronutrients.
Director General Sarwar Mahmud said that fortifying the rice will provide essential vitamins and minerals when households are compelled to compromise food diversity for lack of access to markets and income opportunities during the Covid-19 crisis.
"It is also a cost-effective approach to address nutrient deficiencies in food aid to reach urban low income disadvantaged poor population," he said.
WFP's Country Representative Richard Ragan said, "Food insecurity has far reaching, long lasting impacts on the poor, particularly those living in areas undergoing rapid urbanisation."
The lack of access to a varied, nutritious diet is one of the leading causes of micronutrient deficiency and malnutrition in Bangladesh, added Richard Ragan.
OMS is a regular public food distribution programme, which sells rice at subsidized prices round the year when and where necessary for stabling the market price and support the low income population.
About Fortified Rice
Rice fortification provides an immediate, ready-to-use product that helps to address micronutrient deficiencies on a large scale.
Fortified rice kernels look, taste and cook like ordinary rice but are enhanced with six essential vitamins and minerals: Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B12, Folic Acid, Iron and Zinc.
They are mixed with ordinary rice at a ratio of 1:100.
The United Nations World Food Programme is the world's largest humanitarian organisation, saving lives in emergencies, building prosperity, and supporting a sustainable future for people recovering from conflict, disasters, and the impact of climate change.