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Profitable Opportunities for Food Security (PROOFS)

Start project:
  • 2013
  • Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ICCO
  • ICCO

Over recent years, considerable progress has been made in improving food and nutrition security and health situation with better water and sanitation in Bangladesh. Bangladeshi people face ongoing challenges due to a number of interrelated factors, such as a very high population density, severe climate imbalances and environmental issues, and a high frequency of natural disasters.

In Bangladesh malnutrition is widespread, especially amongst women and children (40-50%). It affects both their physical health and cognitive development. In addition, it has a negative impact on their social and economic development. Prices of critical imports and global commodities, such as diesel fuel and key staples like rice, remain high and continue to rise.
Rates of malnutrition in children, adolescents, and women in Bangladesh are among the highest in the world. Among these population groups 9.6% are suffering from stunting, 31.9% from wasting anemia and 42% are underweight. Despite the steady decline in malnutrition over the past decade, there is much scope for improving the nutrition and food security of Bangladeshi households. Around 26% of the Bangladeshi population faces chronic food insecurity as a consequence of poor access to sufficiently nutritious food. Higher food security coupled with improved nutrition knowledge can have a significant impact on the physical and cognitive development, which in turn affects the social and economic productivity of an individual.

Insufficient access to food
Food insecurity is closely related to poverty. As much as 32% of the Bangladeshi population lives below the poverty line, with approximately 50 million Bangladeshis experiencing insufficient access to food and other basic needs. The current situation with regard to water, sanitation and hygiene is poor and poses further health risks.

The bulk of food is produced by smallholder farmers, of which many produce only at a subsistence level. Generally, these smallholders face deficient local input and output markets: inefficient market infrastructure and limited market information, poor access to credit and extension services, and inadequate infrastructure such as irrigation and electricity.

ICCO Cooperation, iDE and BoPInc have developed the PROOFS project with financial support of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. PROOFS stands for Profitable Opportunities for Food Security.

Project Updates

WASH NUT creates new business

For Private Latrine Producers (PLPs) in rural Bangladesh, one of the key constraints to business expansion is reaching new potential customers at the community level. As a pilot initiative, PROOFS helped introduce and link PLPs with project supported Nutrition Sales Agents (NSAs) so that these two market actors could enter into mutually-beneficial agreements for marketing and selling sanitation products on commission. As NSAs were already regularly visiting communities to sell food and nutrition products and provide household counseling, they were the perfect candidates to link with PLPs to promote their water and sanitation products as well. Interested NSAs were provided training on the product technologies, as well as business expansion training. During an initial three-month WASH-NUT pilot, 52 NSAs increased their profits by earning a total of BDT 12,667.

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Project started:
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Project started:
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