ICRISAT-led nutrition enhancement program to reach more vulnerable groups
Giri Poshana for Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) launched.
Over 16,000 children, adolescent girls, pregnant women, and lactating mothers from tribal communities are set to benefit from a nutrition intervention in Telangana, India. ICRISAT’s Agribusiness and Innovation Platform (AIP) has formulated nutritionally balanced food products from local crops, which will be manufactured at food processing facilities owned by tribal women.
Mrs Satyavathi Rathod, Minister for Scheduled Tribes Welfare, Women and Child Welfare, Telangana, recently launched the next phase of the tribal diet diversification program titled Giri Poshana for Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs). A total of 16,389 beneficiaries from the Integrated Tribal Development Areas (ITDAs) of Utnoor, Bhadrachalam and Mannanur in Telangana will receive the nutritious food products. The food processing facilities are licensed by FSSAI and established in the ITDA areas by the Tribal Welfare Department with support from ICRISAT.
Although Telangana has made significant progress in addressing malnutrition among tribal communities, significant gaps still exist. As per National Family Health Survey 5 (NFHS-5), in Bhadrachalam, Utnoor and Mannanur respectively, 28.4%, 35.4% and 35.9% of children under the age of 5 years are stunted; 25.3%, 38.5%, and 31.7% of children are underweight. Moreover, 21.8%, 26.4% and 21.8% of children in these respective areas are wasted and 69.3%, 67.8% and 75.6% of children are anemic. 68.7%, 60.7% and 55.4% of women in the respective areas are also anemic.
“The Tribal Welfare Department (TWD) and Department of Women Development and Child Welfare (DWDCW) together have launched Giri Poshana for PVTGs. We launched this program to improve the health status of over 16,000 children, pregnant women, lactating mothers and adolescent girls. Local food crops like millets have been used by ICRISAT to create nutritionally rich food products. With the establishment of MSME processing units in ITDA areas by tribal women, we expect the health of our tribal communities to be on par with everyone else in the state,” Mrs Rathod said.
Under this program, the food products are made from locally grown millets and pulses to meet nutrition needs of the target population. AIP-ICRISAT has formulated a variety of products including Multigrain Meal, Multigrain Sweet Meal, Jowar Meal, Jowar Bytes, Peanut Fried Gram Chikki and Peanut Sesame Chikki. These products will be made by the tribal-women-led food processing units in ITDAs of Utnoor, Bhadrachalam and Eturnagaram who have been trained by ICRISAT in food safety management systems, machine operations and maintenance, financial management and quality control. These units will hygienically pack and supply the nutritious food products to the beneficiaries at 495 anganwadi centers in ITDA areas.
The need to address nutritional challenges through local foods is at the heart of ICRISAT’s vision and mission. ICRISAT’s partnership with the Department of Tribal Welfare began with the first phase of the called ‘Nutri-Food Basket’. It continued in the second phase with Giri Poshana. The nutritionally rich food products created by ICRISAT for young children, adolescent girls and pregnant women and lactating mothers are a game-changer in India’s quest to prevent malnutrition.
Dignitaries present on this occasion on 5 July 2021 included Dr Christina Z Chongthu, IAS, Secretary and Commissioner, Tribal Welfare Department, Telangana State and Smt D Divya, IAS, Special Secretary and Commissioner, Department of Women Development and Child Welfare and ICRISAT officials.