G.M. Rabiul Islam

Integrating participatory systems dynamics and nutrition: applications to a market intervention to improve safe and nutritious food availability in Bangladesh

Doctorate: Tokyo Medical and Dental University, Japan, 2018
Home mentor: Dr. Mohammad Jahangir Alam, Professor, Department of Agribusiness and Marketing, & Director, Institute of Agribusiness and Development Studies (IADS), Bangladesh Agricultural University
Host mentor: Dr. Karl Rich, Principal Scientist: Policy, Impact, and Value Chains; International Livestock Research Institute

Short biography:

Dr. G.M. Rabiul Islam is an epidemiologist in the field of nutrition, food safety, and value chain research. He received his Ph.D. from Tokyo Medical and Dental University, Japan, in the field of public health economics. He also holds an MSc in Nutrition and Rural Development from Ghent University, Belgium, and BSc in Agriculture from Khulna University, Bangladesh.

Project summary:

The per-capita consumption of vegetables in Bangladesh is substantially below WHO norms, and there is an urgent need to encourage local value chains to deliver safe and affordable produce to the wider population. At the same time, nitrate and nitrite pollution from chemical fertilizers, pesticide residue overload in vegetables and microbiological contamination along the value chain have emerged as alarming public health issues.

This project will address the following questions:

  • Can value chains be shaped to deliver better environmental outcomes, safer food as well as expanded supplies of nutritious produce to a wide cross-section of consumers?
  • What would be the system wide benefits and costs of alternative interventions (e.g., adoption of good agricultural practices)? 

This project will use an innovation in the form of Group Model Building (GMB) approaches in the system dynamics (SD) modelling of vegetable value chains in Bangladesh. SD techniques provide a means of addressing the impact of intervention options in agri-food value chains. GMB sessions use focus groups and the language of systems thinking to develop, construct, and parameterize models directly with client groups, with discussion on model structure and parameters complemented by primary and secondary data. In the proposed research, we aim to adapt and demonstrate the value of GMB in a value chains for nutrition settings.