New Delhi, Feb 20: With an aim to improve nutritional choices and enhance dietary diversity of India, the Niti Aayog organised a national workshop on “Promoting Healthy Diets Through Local Food Systems” on Wednesday.
The inaugural session of the workshop was addressed by Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant, Ministry of Women and Child Development Secretary Rakesh Srivastava, DARE & DG, ICAR Secretary Trilochan Mohapatra, UNICEF representative in India Yasmin Ali Haque and Lady Irwin College Director and NCEAR-D chairperson Anupa Sidhu.
An exhibition of more than 250 best practices, innovations and local food products developed by various agriculture and food technology institutions was another attraction.
Envisaging a convergence between the Aspirational Districts programme and POSHAN Abhiyaan, the workshop seeks to design institutional collaborations between academia and state governments across these districts.
Under the aegis of POSHAN Abhiyaan, promoting consumption and household/community production of locally available nutritionally rich food resources has been a priority concern. The academic institutions will serve as resource centres and Nutrition Support Units to the districts and state administration for technical, training, concurrent monitoring support to achieve the goals of POSHAN Abhiyaan.
The workshop saw the participation of state governments, UN agencies such as UNICEF and FAO, and development partners operating at the district level. It also included over 40 academic institutions (Home science colleges, food, nutrition and extension education departments of Agriculture universities) from across 16 states, apart from eminent academics and experts who shared implementation strategies and innovative success stories.
The Aspirational Districts Dietary fact sheets were released during the workshop which will help both academicians and policy makers in examining the gaps in the daily diets of children and mothers of reproductive age group in terms of recommended dietary intake.
The analysis will help the academic institutions to make an Action Plan to fill this gap, which will also be shared with District administration for collaboration and implementation purpose.
The POSHAN (PM’s Overarching Scheme for Holistic Nourishment) Abhiyaan is aimed to ensure attainment of malnutrition free India by 2022. The programme targets reduction of under-nutrition, anemia and low birth weight by ensuring convergence of evidence-based nutrition interventions and by creating a mass movement (Jan Andolan) for food nutrition in India. One of the key nutrition interventions to meet these targets is to improve the quality of daily diets by making them nutritionally rich and locally sustainable.
The workshop provided a platform to reach a common understanding of diet diversity problems in Aspirational Districts across India and learn from national and international examples where nutrition academia and state governments have collaborated. Academic institutions were also encouraged to frame scientific methodologies and prepare achievable action plans with clearly defined indicators. (UNI)