Delwar Kabir, Jhenidah
The government had established a number of research institutions throughout the country to give relief to the mal-nutritious people.
The research institutions titled as Bangladesh Institute of Research and Training on Applied Nutrition (BIRTAN) are working in seven divisions and another in Dhaka as per an approval of the ministry of agriculture in August of 2012.
But the shortage of adequate manpower was visible at the centre, which should be considered for smooth programme implementation.
It has been building awareness among the people, conducting school campaigning, field days observation and arranging fair in the rural areas as part of creating awareness of mass people, said the BIRTAN authorities.
Kazi Abul Kalam, director of BIRTAN, said huge people had been suffering from diabetes and some other deadly diseases in the country. Most of the diseases were caused due to malnutrition of the rural people and lack of awareness among them, he added. Considering the situation, Dr. Mohammad Ibrahim, the founder of BIRDEM started Applied Nutrition activities as a project at Jurain in Dhaka in 1968. Now the BIRTAN was spread at Jhenidah, Rangpur, Sirajganj, Netrakona, Sunamganj, Noakhali, Barishal and its head office at Araijhazar upazila of Narayanganj.
The authority said the main objectives of the research institutions were aimed at researching food-based applied nutrition development, reduce loss in pre and post harvesting of food crops, ensure functional food and herbal plants, analyze food nutrients and enlist daily food production, demand and preservation activities, identification of mal-nutritional aspects in district and upazila level and reduce application of hazardous chemical fertilizer, pesticides and insecticides.
The sources said local government engineering department (LGED) has been constructing the BIRTAN each on around five acres of land at a cost of Taka 12 crore including office building, training centre, officers quarter, research pond, boundary wall, road, etc.
Each and every agricultural wings like department of agriculture extension (DAE), livestock department, fisheries department and forestry departments will conduct research activities at the BIRTAN.
To continue the research and awareness programme smoothly, the authorities have been providing training of trainers (ToT) to the imams of mosques and other religious body leaders, The awareness programme will include the imams of mosques, leaders of the temples, sub assistant agriculture officers (SAAO), school teachers, NGO activists and social workers.
Senior scientific officer (SSO) of the research unit at Madhupur village of Jhenidah said they are running the regional research centre with the cooperation of the department of agriculture extension.
Now a SSO, a scientific officer (SO), an assistant scientific officer (ASO), a field assistant (FA) and a guard were working there out of total sanctioned 16 positions.
Local government engineering department (LGED) executive engineer at Jhenidah Abdul Malek said the major portion of the first phase construction work of the centre was almost completed. Remaining work of connecting road, earth work and gate is expected to be completed before the schedule in 2019.