Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition (FSN Forum)

Dear Concern,

Thank you so much for inviting me to contribute to the creation of effective policies to support urban and peri-urban food systems in order to achieve food security and nutrition in the context of urbanization and rural transformation. The following suggestions are provided for your evaluation and consideration: 

Achieving food security and improved nutrition status in an era of rapid urbanization requires considerably more understanding of the relationship between urban and food systems. In case of urban settings for low-income groups, awareness raising about the benefit of healthy food and its accessibility in the neighboring stores is needed. The adverse impact of trans fatty acids containing unhealthy food like singara, puri, samosa, burger, which are frequently consumed around tea time at 11:0am and at tea break, should be avoided from the food consumption list. The person responsible for making such unhealthy food should be discouraged, and given assistance to start a business for selling healthier food.

In the per-urban areas, water logging and improper fecal waste management are the major source of microbial contamination in water and soil (Dey et al. 2017), which increases the risk of child stunting and wasting. Improving the household environment through safely managed water and sanitation, and hygiene practices reduce the risk of childhood diarrhoeal disease (Dey et al. 2019), and child stunting and wasting caused by nutritional imbalances.  Protection of soil and water contamination from industrial waste, tubewell’s waste water, and agro-chemicals are urgently needed to ensure safe production of high value crops, such as fruits and vegetables in the peri-urban areas. Conservation of surface water, its sustainability (Dey et al. 2017) in terms of availability and quality (Dey et al. 2018), timely its application, adoption of smart technology for remediation of degraded soil and water quality aiming to smart farming for enhancing food production and thus food security in the changing climate is urgently needed. It is very important to get insights on people’s knowledge on issues like this, which critically impact food safety and hygiene, but which have received little attention so far (Rabbi and Dey, 2013). Proper handwashing with soap and water before eating, after defecation, proper management of child faeces and periodic monitoring for adopting hygiene behavior including cleanliness of latrine can prevent under-five children diarrhoea in households (Dey et al., 2019).

Pesticides, for example, are often used even right before harvest, selling, and consumption, posing a serious risk to public health (Dey al. 2010; WHO 2022). In peri-urban environments where vegetables are produced, supply water or TW water is not always accessible, especially during the dry season. As a result, many farmers wash their produce using contaminated surface water, increasing the risk of microbiological contamination, food safety, and health. There is an urgent need for more education campaigns on the harmful effects of pesticides and tainted surface water on human health and food safety. Establishment of a community-based monitoring system to safeguard against the improper application of pesticides prior to harvest and sale. As a skilled employee earns more, development of skill in a specific area by each member of a family may enhance income generation as a whole to purchase healthy food. A strong understanding of cooking techniques can maintain an ideal level of nutrients in food for healthy life.

Thank you,

Dr. Nepal C Dey

Founding Managing Director, Research and Entrepreneurship Development Ltd.


Damalas, C.A. and Eleftherohorinos, I.G. (2011). Pesticide Exposure, Safety Issues, and Risk Assessment Indicators, Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2011 May; 8(5): 1402–1419. doi: 10.3390/ijerph8051402

Junaid, S.A., Umeh, C., Olabode, A.O., Banda, J.M. (2011). Incidence of rotavirus infection in children with gastroenteritis attending Jos university teaching hospital, Nigeria. Virol. J. 8, 233.

Dey, N.C., Parvez, M., Islam, M.R., Mistry, S.K., Levine, D. (2019). Effectiveness of a community-based water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) intervention in reduction of diarrhoea among under-five children: Evidence from a repeated cross-sectional study (2007–2015) in rural Bangladesh, Intl. J. Hygiene and Environmental Health, 222 (8): 1098-1108.

Dey, N.C., Parvez, M., Dey, D., Saha, R., Ghose, L., Barua, M., Islam, A, Chowdhury, M. (2017). Microbial contamination of drinking water from risky tubewells situated in different hydrological regions of BangladeshIntl. J. Hygiene and Environmental Health,2017, 220 (3), 621–636. https://doi. 10.1016/j.ijheh.2016.12.007.

Rabbi, S.E. and Dey, N.C. (2013). Exploring the gap between hand washing knowledge and practices in Bangladesh: a cross-sectional comparative studyBMC Public Health, 13, 89. [[https://doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-89%5dhttps:/doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-8….

WHO (2022). Pesticide residues in food. World Health Organization. (entered on 6 March 2022).