Food contamination and adulteration situation of Bangladesh is a serious public health concern which demonstrates a widespread non-compliance with food quality and hygienic practice among food producers and traders. One of the key projects of the British Council, PROKAS recently aimed to improve the governance of poultry feed production and distribution systems and the regulation of poultry feed industries through national-level advocacy/lobby and strengthening local-level market monitoring in five districts of Bangladesh.
Six community-based civil society groups, named Consumer Committees (CCs) have been formed to strengthen market monitoring. This is a collective action of PROKAS partners with Consumer Committees, Department of Livestock, local government administration and market committees.
The teams work on health and hygiene practice in farms, live bird markets and with poultry dealers – encouraging improvements in safe food practice. This PROKAS project is increasing the accountability of the parties related to poultry feed and live bird market. The success of the civil society/government joint engagement is also acting as an example for other community and local administration initiatives, and the model is being replicated in other local government areas.
The knowledge, practice, and behaviour of feed dealers and farmers are changing due to this initiative. Now they are formalising their practice through licensing and registration. They are more aware of safe and quality feed and poultry sellers are practicing good hygiene practices and practicing safe waste disposal.
The project created spaces for civil society engagement with the government to improve government market monitoring and oversight mechanisms as well, including providing opportunities for inclusive engagement and recommendations on revisions to law, policy, and practice. PROKAS assists the government to identify key issues where the comparative advantages of civil society and government can work effectively together. One of the Upazila Livestock Officers, Kumarkhali, Kushtia said, “The movement of Consumer Committee is an opportunity for the administration to strengthen the market monitoring mechanism which would ultimately help the government to ensure food safety.”