Marking the biggest food fortification drive in open market
Udaipur witnessed one of the biggest-ever food fortification drive in the open market with four flour millers launching fortified wheat flour together to prevent rising cases of Anaemia and Vitamin deficiencies among the masses.
The iron, Vitamin B12 and folic acid-fortified wheat flour were rolled out in the open market at an average price range of Rs. 16 per kg, which is comparable with the usual non-fortified flour available everywhere in the city.
The quantity of flour put together by all the flour millers (Shree Suraj Karni, C.M foods, KGM Agro Foods and Agarwal Rolling Flour Mills) will be around 8802 metric tons per month, a spokesman said.
“When private millers come together with public interest on their mind, it always creates a huge impact. This not only helps in increasing penetration but also ensures availability of the product for the people”, said Dr. Dhirendra Kumar, Project Director, Project Management Unit (PMU), Institute of Health Management Research (IIHMR), Jaipur.
The millers are already supporting to the Government’s initiative to provide fortified wheat flour to the people living above the poverty line, but with this initiative people who do not go to ration shops but buy from their local groceries can now consume fortified wheat flour.
The flour launch is a part of India’s biggest food fortification project going on in the state. This project is spearheaded by IIHMR Jaipur, with technical and financial support from the international developmental agency, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN).
GAIN is partnering with the state government, wheat flour millers and other stakeholders and providing financial and technical support to deliver micronutrient fortified wheat flour.
To evaluate nutritional status among children, a study was conducted in pre-schoolers (2-6 years) from ten different slums of Udaipur City*. Its major findings are:
- More than 50% of these pre-schoolers showed symptoms of protein energy malnutrition and Anaemia.
- 22% had pigeon chest deformity due to Vitamin D and Calcium deficiency.
- Majority of the children (66%) were under weight.
- Majority of these pre-schoolers was wasted (30%) or wasted and stunted (42%). This malnutrition was either of PCM (Past Chronic Malnutrition) or CLM (Current Long duration Malnutrition) type.
Shree Suraj Karni Rolling Flour Mills and C.M. Foods Pvt Ltd rolled out “Sudarshan” and “Gangaur Double” fortified wheat flour respectively in the open market on 2nd June, while KGM Agro Foods Pvt Ltd and Agarwal Rolling Flour Mills rolled out the products “Swastik” and “Vinayak” respectively in the open market today, on 3rd June.
Rajasthan has very high levels of stunting (40%), wasting and under-nutrition (37%) amongst children and high levels of Anaemia across all age and income groups, with 79% of children below 3 years of age, 62 % pregnant women and even 21% men being Anaemic.
“Fortified wheat flour could go a long way in dealing with this situation. It is high time to take up the issue of Micronutrient Malnutrition seriously, or else their impairing effect might become out of control in the state”, says Mr. Naresh Agarwal from Shree Surjan Karni Rolling Flour Mills.