Improving Public Food Distribution in Bangladesh

IFPRI images

MOTIVATION

In response to natural disasters and crop failures that caused food shortages in the 1990s and 2000s, the World Food Programme (WFP) and other donors supplied food for the Government of Bangladesh to distribute. However, with growing concerns that food aid was not reaching the most vulnerable, WFP called on IFPRI in 2003 to examine the source of food aid "leakages."

RESULTS AND OUTCOMES

  • IFPRI’s evaluation revealed large inefficiencies in transport, weighing processes, and grain distribution, which accounted for the loss of 8 percent of grain in the distribution system. Substantial delays—food aid was taking as long as nine months to reach those in need—further exacerbated the problem. IFPRI recommended targeted monetary allocations to improve distribution, to provide accurate, tamper-proof weighing equipment, and to establish regular monitoring by the government and WFP.
  • In 2006, the government implemented IFPRI’s recommendations and established a technical committee to monitor progress. The evidence generated by the IFPRI-WFP partnership allowed the government to reduce leakage and improve food security for the most vulnerable.

For more information on IFPRI's research and partnerships in Bangladesh, please go to this brochure.