Over a third of the 61 million people who make up Bangladesh’s labor force are paid daily. A nationwide lockdown from March 26 to May 30, 2020, restricted the spread of COVID-19 but, without adequate support, daily-wage workers faced severe food and nutrition insecurity.
In a study published in PLOS ONE, Khondoker Mottaleb, agricultural economist at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), examined the food security and welfare impacts of COVID-19 lockdowns on daily-wage workers in Bangladesh — both in farming and other sectors. With comparatively lower resources than salaried and self-employed workers, daily-wage workers are more likely to be hit hardest by COVID-related loss in earnings.
Using information from more than 50,000 workers in Bangladesh, collected by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS), the study quantified the economic losses from COVID-19 lockdowns, based on daily-wage workers’ lost earnings.
The authors estimated that each day of complete lockdown represented an economic loss of $64.2 million for all daily-wage workers — on average, more than $3 per worker per day.
Researchers also calculated the subsidies needed to ensure basic food and nutrition security during the lockdown period. After assessing the daily per capita food expenditure for farm and non-farm households, the study estimated the need for a minimum compensation of around $1 per day for each household supported by daily-wage workers.
As the COVID-19 crisis continues to threaten already vulnerable food systems around the world, CIMMYT remains committed to its mission of achieving food security and improving livelihoods around the world through science. Understanding the impacts of global shocks such as the COVID-19 pandemic remains a crucial part of this research agenda.
In Bangladesh, CIMMYT contributes to food and nutritional security and improved livelihoods. Through collaborative research and partnerships, CIMMYT advances sustainable agricultural practices, including improved varieties. CIMMYT works to bolster the productivity of cereal-based farming systems, to improve value chains and market development, and to empower farmers and service providers with personalized advice.
Cover image: Farmers participate in a training session from CIMMYT in the village of Boiragee, in Bangladesh’s Dinajpur district, in 2011.
© International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), 2021. All rights reserved. The designations employed in the presentation of materials in this publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of CIMMYT or its contributory organizations concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city, or area, or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. CIMMYT encourages fair use of this material. Proper citation is requested.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations (UN) Member States in 2015, provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity, for people and the planet. At its heart are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are an urgent call for action by all countries to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.
The SDGs set the pathway for agricultural, social, and economic development. They address the global challenges we face, including poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace and justice.
CGIAR transformed its approach to ensure that its work is aligned with the ambitious goals. CIMMYT, through its research-for-development activities, contributes to empower women, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and improve the health and nutrition of the world's poorest people.
CIMMYT’s work contributes to the following SDGs:
CIMMYT – the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center – is the global leader in publicly-funded maize and wheat research and related farming systems. Headquartered near Mexico City, CIMMYT works with hundreds of partners throughout the developing world to sustainably increase the productivity of maize and wheat cropping systems, thus improving global food security and reducing poverty. CIMMYT is a member of the CGIAR System and leads the CGIAR Research Programs on Maize and Wheat and the Excellence in Breeding Platform. The Center receives support from national governments, foundations, development banks and other public and private agencies.
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