Madhya Pradesh govt launches the rice fortification pilot program

Accelerates its commitment to food fortification as a strategy to reduce anaemia and micronutrient deficiencies in the state. Fortified rice to be provided at Rs. 1 per kg to beneficiaries

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New Delhi: Accelerating its commitment to food fortification as a strategy to reduce anaemia and micronutrient deficiencies, the government of Madhya Pradesh on 22nd September launched the rice fortification pilot in Singrauli district. The launch of the pilot program builds on the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi’s vision of fortifying all rice distributed through ration shops or the rice provided to children in the mid-day meal, by 2024.
Taking the national initiative forward, Bisahulal Singh Food and Civil Supplies Consumer Protection Minister launched the pilot program today in Singrauli. During the launch, he distributed fortified rice among some beneficiaries of the Public Distribution System and felicitated the millers for their contribution to the rice fortification pilot in Singrauli. Through this initiative, fortified rice will be provided at a rate of Rs. 1/- per kg to the beneficiaries of the public distribution system.
Food fortification has been recognized nationally through the Anaemia Mukt Bharat program and the Poshan Abhiyan as a cost-effective impactful intervention for reducing anaemia. Among the various fortification modalities available, what makes rice an excellent food staple for delivering micronutrients is its reach — 65% of Indians consume rice and the per capita rice consumption in India is 6.8 kilograms per month (as per National Sample Survey Office, NSSO 2015). Rice also constitutes a significant percentage of the grains distributed and cooked under the government social safety net programs. Fortified rice, if provided through delivery channels that ensure maximum coverage like the mid-day meal or public distribution system, can reach every family under the scheme.
Speaking at the launch, Tarun Pithore, Managing Director, Madhya Pradesh State Civil Supplies Corporation said, “Rice is an ideal vehicle for fortification. The inclusion of fortified rice in the public distribution system will offer a sustainable and cost-effective method for improving the nutritional status of the population in the state.”
Nutrition International, a global nutrition organization working with the government of Madhya Pradesh since 2006, is extending its technical expertise to ensure the successful implementation of this program. Nutrition International is supporting in planning, budgeting, capacity building and strengthening of review and monitoring of the program and strengthening quality assurance and control mechanism for better quality and coverage of the program.
Speaking at the event, Mansi Shekhar, State Program Representative, Nutrition International Madhya Pradesh said, “One of the most effective, scalable, affordable, and sustainable ways to address micronutrient deficiencies among vulnerable populations is through the distribution of fortified staples via the social safety net programs. We support the Prime Minister’s vision of rice fortification and are proud to partner with the government of Madhya Pradesh in enabling this great initiative.”
Iron-deficiency anaemia continues to be a cause of concern for Madhya Pradesh as 68.9% of children aged 6-59 months, 52.5% women of reproductive age, 54.6% pregnant women, and 21.2% adolescents aged 10-19 years suffer from anaemia. The state government is making concerted efforts to improve this situation by dedicatedly implementing the Anaemia Mukt Bharat campaign and Poshan Abhiyan. The iron and folic acid supplementation program implemented across the state has been successful in reaching vulnerable beneficiaries including pregnant and lactating women, adolescent girls and boys. The government hopes that food fortification as a complementary strategy will additionally contribute to addressing the anaemia burden in the state.