After successful coverage of wheat flour, soya dal analogue and oil in the food fortification programme, the Rajasthan Government on Wednesday decided to include milk in the ambitious project from March. About 16 lakh litres of milk will be fortified everyday with small quantities of vitamins A and D to make it more nutritious before its supply under the programme.
The decision for producing fortified milk was taken at a high-level meeting presided over by Minister of State for Dairy Development and Khadi and Village Industries Babulal Nagar.
The State government is implementing the project in collaboration with Jaipur-based Institute of Health Management & Research (IHMR) and the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN). It has been executed through the public distribution system for common citizen, women and children having low levels of nutrition and expanded to cover the midday meals scheme in schools.
Rajasthan Cooperative Dairy Federation (RCDF) chairman Jog Singh Balot, Managing Director Mukesh Sharma, GAIN country manager Rajan Shankar, senior programme associate Deepti Gulati and IHMR Director S. D. Gupta were among those who attended the meeting.
Mr. Nagar said the initiative would make milk nutritious and help deal with the problem of malnutrition among large sections of population, especially children. “The RCDF will supply 'Saras' milk after its fortification in 17 processing plants situated in different districts,” he said.
Dr. Shankar pointed out that fortified food had led to a significant increase in the nutrition levels in several countries and yielded encouraging results with very little investments: “We are making attempts to provide all necessary elements through food fortification to the vulnerable sections of population, such as children, pregnant women and lactating women.”
The food fortification does not change colour, taste or aroma of food material and makes it wholesome, said Dr. Shankar. IHMR project director O. P. Gupta said the centralised kitchens were supplying fortified soya dal analogue containing additional micronutrients for mid-day meals given to school children.