//Kerala launches mission to save its poor children from malnutrition

Kerala launches mission to save its poor children from malnutrition

Kochi (Kerala): The Kerala Government and the state’s largest self help group called Kudumbhashree mission have announced plans to launch a unique program to save children suffering from malnutrition in the state.

The ‘Take Home Ration’ programme aims at providing nutritional supplements to the 0-3 age group kids belonging to the Below Poverty Line (BPL) category in the state.

This programme will see the Kudumbasree’s own product ‘Nutrimix’ being supplied to the underprivileged children across the state. The programme which is to be launched shortly is estimated to cost around Rs 40 crore a year. Apart from the usual supplement of carbohydrates, protein and fat, the Nutrimix will have Riboflavin, Thyamin, crude fibres and Niacian.

The main contents of the Nutrimix are wheat, Bengal gram, groundnut, soya flour and jaggery. The calorific value of the Nutrimix is 311 calories per 100 gms.

“Since the ‘Nutrimix’ should be paletteable and digestible, should be low cost, have a good shelf life, so we have modified Nutrimix a little.We made sure it contains all the nutrients, we have developed it with the locally available things.According to the CDS norms, it should contain 300 kilo calories of energy and 10 to 12 grams of proteins.From other districts also, self help groups are coming and getting trained here at Bedadukka Nutrimix unit,” said Nilofer Illyas Kutty, Technical Officer, Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Kasargod.

Once the programme gets into full swing, 500 units will be set up across the state. Each unit will require five trained hands to prepare the Nutrimix which means that permanent employment to around 2,500 women in the BPL category.

“In the beginning a week long training was given by the Central Plantation Crops Research Institute(CPCRI), Kasargod to all of us in which they had taught us how to prepare the mix, its packing and distribution. Now we have set up our own unit and is running it in good profit, paid up our loans and other liabilities as of date. There are 11 women members in a unit who got employment through this project,” said Satyavadi, Unit Group Leader, Kudumbashree.

The project idea started when a group from Bedadukka panchayat in Kasargod district started this venture about a year and a half ago. The product was developed by CPCRI, Kasargode. The group obtained training and product knowledge from them, and has been successfully running ever since.

The main objective of the project is to set up at least 20 such Nutrimix units in every district starting with 4 units each in first five panchayats in every district. Then scaling it up to 10 Panchayats, and further to all neighbouring panchayats. All the selected panchayat needs to be S-3 or at least “A” grade panchayats. This way the Kudumbashree network can set up a well-established network of Nutrimix units and further look positively for possible backward and forward integration.

The Kudumbasree has already begun its work in 40 units across the state with the technical support of the Central Plantation Crops Research Institute, Kasargod. A pilot scheme has been successfully introduced in select districts.

Till date the Kudumbashree mission has resulted in the setting up of more than one lakh neighborhood groups in which more than 23 lakh families have been enrolled as members. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) had selected Kudumbashree as one among the 20 globally respected best practices model It is expected that the big corporates who are at present the major suppliers of baby food supplement in the state will be forced to cut the exorbitant prices charged by them.