NEW DELHI: As food diversity and inclusion of region-specific traditional foods in the diet to prevent malnutrition among children gain importance, Odisha and Chandigarh are showing the way by bringing the highly-nutritious millets into the limelight in an era of ‘superfoods’.
How the humble ragi ladoo, jowar and bajra are becoming part of the battle against malnutrition has been highlighted in a report brought out by the Niti Aayog in collaboration with the UN World Food Programme.
The special initiatives taken by Odisha and Chandigarh on millets is part of the report that brings together good practices from across India on ‘take home ration” (THR) under the supplementary nutrition programme (SNP). Part of the Integrated Child Development Scheme, SNP is delivered to more than nine crore beneficiaries registered at anganwadis through hot-cooked meals and THR. The THR programme provides supplementary food products to children aged 6 to 36 months, and to pregnant and lactating women, for use in their homes.
As far as the focus on mainstreaming millets, in Odisha, the authorities as a special initiative introduced ragi ladoo in tribal-dominated Keonjhar and Sundargarh districts from July 2020 as a morning snack for pre-school children (3-6 yrs) covered under ICDS. Looking at the nutritive value of millets and to promote their use in daily diet, Chandigarh has taken an initiative to include millets in the THR.

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