Pankaja Munde lauds Reliance Foundation's initiative to tackle malnutrition in Maharashtra, MoU signed to take efforts forward

Mumbai: To reduce the incidence of malnutrition among children in Maharashtra, the state's women and child development department is set to develop 25,000 kitchen gardens and produce fruits and vegetables on a small scale for more than two lakh children in anganwadis across the state.

A tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between the Rajmata Jijau Mother-Child Health Nutrition Mission (RJMCHNM), Department of Women and Child Development (DWCD) and Reliance Foundation (RF) to tackle the malaise of malnutrition among children of Maharashtra. This MoU, earlier signed in 2015, was renewed on Thursday in the presence of Minister for Rural Development, Pankaja Munde and Jagannatha Kumar, CEO, Reliance Foundation.

The endeavour strengthens the Government of India’s agenda of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)-2 in the National Action Plan for Children 2016 that targets improved nutrition as a key outcome, a press release by Reliance Foundation said. The MoU is set for 16 districts, such as Thane, Pune, Palghar, Yavatmal, Jalgaon, Parbhani, Osmanabad, Wardha Beed, Jalna, Aurangabad, Ahmednagar, Gondia, Solapur, Nandurbar and Chandrapur.

Maharashtra rural development minister Pankaja Munde. Sachin Gokhale/Firstpost

Maharashtra rural development minister Pankaja Munde. Sachin Gokhale/Firstpost

During the first phase of the collaboration, Reliance Nutrition Gardens (RNGs) were established and promoted in eight districts of Maharashtra, namely Pune, Thane, Palghar, Yavatmal, Jalgaon, Parbhani, Osmanabad and Wardha. RNGs are scientifically-developed, low cost, organic kitchen gardens that use a multi-tier cropping system to accommodate a variety of fruits and vegetables. This helps improve health and nutritional parameters among farmer families across villages in India.

More than one lakh children are provided with fresh fruits and vegetables through 7,300 nutrition gardens set up in anganwadis. RF has capacitated more than 450 master trainers for nutrition gardens to help build and sustain this effort.

Speaking on this occasion Munde said, “The encouraging results of the first phase have motivated the government of Maharashtra to expand the programme in eight new districts with RF as our knowledge partner. We want to ensure that every child in anganwadis gets access to fresh fruits and vegetables across the state.” The eight districts to be covered in the current MoU are Beed, Jalna, Aurangabad, Ahmednagar, Gondia, Solapur, Nandurbar and Chandrapur.

The kitchen gardens set up by Reliance Foundation will help children get fresh fruits and vegetable, she added. We want to ensure that every child in anganwadis in the state gets access to fresh fruits and vegetables. This would help to reduce the number of malnourished children. We are planning to adopt ‘kitchen garden’ concept across the state,” said minister. Minister also said that this will benefit at least 7 to eight lakh anganwadi childrens. More than 1000 master trainers will be capacitated in all 16 districts for supporting the development of 25000 nutrition gardens in the anganwadi premises.

Jagannatha Kumar, CEO, Reliance Foundation said, “The concept of Reliance Nutrition Gardens has had a huge positive impact on communities associated with us. I am very proud that RF has partnered with the government of Maharashtra to address the issue of malnutrition amongst children in anganwadis, strengthening the Government of India’s agenda of nutrition in the National Action Plan for Children 2016. I am thankful to Pankaja Munde, for her vision for the state nutrition mission and Vinita Vaid Singal, Secretary, WCD for successfully steering the program”.

At the function, anganwadi supervisors Baby Balasaheb Yadav from Parbhani and Lalitha Sathkar from Wardha also shared their experience on tackling malnutrition in villages.

(Disclosure: Firstpost is part of Network18 Media & Investment Limited which is owned by Reliance Industries Limited.)

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Updated Date: Apr 03, 2018 16:04:43 IST

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