Representatives of several NGOs who participated in the round table organised by Dhan Foundation, on ‘Food and Nutritional Security’ with particular reference to women and children, here on Saturday, appealed to the State gvernment to supply millets to tribal and rural population through the public distribution system, in place of rice.

Kick-starting the discussion on the subject Dhan Foundation regional coordinator K. Rama Prabha announced a ‘Walkathon for Nutritional Security’ on February 2{+n}{+d}from the local Gandhi Statue to Gurujada Kala Kshetram where an exhibition on the subject will be organised. Stalls on nutritious food will be opened by NGOs at the venue.

She said that while awareness on consumption of nutritional food had increased considerably among the urban population, the rural and tribal population were shifting from their traditional nutritional food practices to rice consumption. This trend should be reversed. The government should take the lead by supplying millets to the people through fair price shops particularly in the tribal and rural areas, she added.

‘Burning issue’

Rama Prabha said that experience with self-help groups proved that due to increase in awareness among the women the haemoglobin levels shot up by 30 per cent. Anaemia is a burning problem among adolescent girls and unless the government and all concerned woke up to the reality and prioritised millets production, the health condition of women, children and men would be precarious.

Participants expressed the view that even if the government intended to continue supply of subsidised rice to its target groups, rice should be unpolished and along with the rice, millets should be supplied. The area of millets cultivation should be expanded. A section of the speakers advocated making issuing of SHG loans conditional for realisation of food security goals. The conditions included extracting assurance of raising a nutritional kitchen garden by promoting leafy vegetables cultivation in the backyards of rural habitations. Awards should be instituted for ‘Healthy Villages’ which adopt organic and nutritious food cultivation and ‘Best SHG Groups Award’ which promote these practices.

Prominent among those who participated in the discussions include Vikasa director P.Viswanadham, Agriculture assistant director N.Geetha Sailaja, Scientist Venugopala Rao, Woman and Child Welfare project director G.Chinmaya Devi, CFNEU demonstration officer M.R.Venkateswarlu, Head of Home Science Department, St. Joseph’s College M. Saileela and World Vision community development coordinator J. Krupavaram.

  • Anaemia is a burning problem among adolescent girls, says NGO coordinator

  • The area of cultivation of millets should be expanded, she says