Berhampur, September 12 (LocalWire): The Government of Odisha has decided to supply fortified rice under its Public Distribution System (PDS) in the tribal-dominated Malkanagiri.
The initiative that will be launched in January 2020 as a pilot project is aimed to address the problem of anemia and micronutrient among the people in the district.
Under the programme the government fortified rice, rich with mineral and Vitamin will be distributed through the PDS system among the people in the district.
“The NITI Aayog had identified 15 districts across the country for implementation of the distribution of fortified rice.
Of these, they identified Malkanagiri, a tribal-dominated and Maoist-infested district from our state,” the state Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Minister Ranendra Pratap Swain said.
According to Swain, all the beneficiaries under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) and the State Food Security Scheme (SFSS) in the district would get the fortified rice.
The scheme would be extended in other districts based on the success of the pilot project in Malkanagiri.
The minister further informed that the government would float a tender to identify the agency to source fortified rice. He, however, said that the quantity of fortified rice needed by the state is yet to be decided.
Swain along with the state Agriculture Minister Arun Sahoo was at Chhatrpur, the district headquarter town, to attend a felicitation programme organised by Rushikulya Rait Mahasabha, a farmers’ organization in the district.
He was told this on the sideline of the meeting.
According to experts, to achieve the desired results, fortified rice kernels (FRK) are blended with the rice in a ratio of 1:100. In other words, 1MT of FRK is mechanically blended with every 100 MTs of rice to get 101 MTs of appropriately fortified rice. With this beneficiaries would get iron, Vitamin B12, and folic acid.
“Consumption of fortified rice would improve the nutritional quality of the food supply and to reduce the level of anemia in the district,” the minister stated.
The state government has implanted the rice fortification scheme in the mid-day meal (MDM) in Gajapati, the only district in the state since 2013.
The fortified rice in MDM was launched to cover 81,314 students in 1230 schools in the district and the results were encouraging.
According to a study by the ICMR Regional Medical Research Center, the level of anemia among the school-going children in the district has gone down by 28% since the implementation of the scheme six years ago.