Fortified rice to be sold through OMS in Dhaka city


DHAKA, August 10, 2020 (BSS) – Fortified Rice will be sold in Dhaka city through Open Market Sale (OMS) at subsidised price aiming to help the urban lower-income people address micronutrient deficiencies.

The Ministry of Food and the World Food Programme formalised the inclusion of fortified rice in Open Market Sales (OMS) today, a WFP press release said.

Richard Ragan, Country Representative of the World Food Programme; Sarwar Mahmud, Director General of Directorate General of Food; and Md Zahangir Alam, Chief Controller, Dhaka Rationing; inaugurated the programme in Chand Uddan, Mohammadpur, here.

Nutrition International (NI) and Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) will be supporting the advocacy for fortified rice in the programme.

Under the programme, the price of fortified rice has been set lower than the market price, at Taka 30 (US$ 0.36) per kg for a maximum of 5 kg of rice per lower-income household per day.

It is estimated that each household will be able to buy on average 20 kg fortified rice per month. About 720,000 people in 144,000 households will be benefitted 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 to 5pm in selected shop outlets.

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.

“Fortifying the rice will provide essential vitamins and minerals when households are compelled to compromise food diversity due to access to markets and income opportunities during the COVID-19 crisis,” said Director General Sarwar Mahmud, Directorate General of Food.

“It is also a cost-effective approach to address nutrient deficiencies in food aid to reach urban lower-income disadvantaged poor population,” he added.

“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,” said WFP’s Country Representative Richard Ragan.

Regular OMS is a public food distribution programme, which sells rice at subsidised prices round the year when and where necessary for stabling the market price and support the lower-income population.

Rice fortification provides an immediate, ready-to-use product that helps to address micronutrient deficiencies at 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.