Odisha set to introduce locally produced millets into ICDS, PDS -Chinmayi Shalya

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published Published on Jun 30, 2020   modified Modified on Jul 1, 2020

-Down to Earth

Keonjhar district will introduce ragi for pre-school meals through DMF funds from July

Locally cultivated ragi will be part of the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) scheme for the first time in Odisha, with Keonjhar district introducing it as part of the pre-school meal from July 2020 onwards. Additionally, 14 districts — a part of the state’s Millet Mission — will provide ragi through the public distribution system (PDS) from September, the state agriculture department said.

The initiatives are part of the state’s millet mission which was initiated in 2017 with the aim to to popularise local production of millets among farmers and increase local household consumption for better dietary diversity and nutritional gains. One of the key commitments was also to integrate locally grown millets as part of public food systems such as ICDS and PDS, mid-day meals and eventually government-run hostels and homes.

The idea is also to build climate resilience among farmers and promote agroecological farming methods for cultivation that draw on chemical-free agriculture practices and locally sustained food systems.

Odisha has an immense malnutrition burden to address, with about 45 per cent children who are stunted and about 41 per cent women who have a below-normal body mass index, according to the National Family Health Survey, 2015-16.

After Keonjhar, the initiative will be replicated in Sundargarh district from August and scaled up in other districts in the coming months. The districts will be using their District Mineral Foundation (DMF) funds for this. Keonjhar has allocated Rs 1.5 crore for the initiative so far.

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Down to Earth, 30 June, 2020, https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/agriculture/odisha-set-to-introduce-locally-produced-millets-into-icds-pds-72039

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