On 20th November, the state government of jharkhand organized an event to commemorate the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav initiative of the Government of India to celebrate 75 years of progressive India and the glorious history of its people, culture and achievements.
As part of this campaign, citizen participation and community engagement was conducted towards creating awareness on food fortification. The Govt of Jharkhand has conducted public awareness activities on rice fortification through cooking of fortified rice.
This campaign was its demonstration in East Singhbhumon on November 20th, 2021 under the government safety net programs. A community feeding program was also organized for the Fare Price Shop (FPS) consumers to make people aware of the benefits of fortified rice .
Consumer awareness activities like essay, drawing, speech were organised at Rajasthan Govt school. Representative from State,Zonal and District main officials from Food and consumer affairs, Education, Health,ICDS and District Administration officials were among 300 people who attended this event
Notably,food fortification refers to adding recommended quantities of nutrients, such as iron, folic acid, etc. to commonly consumed foods, including rice, wheat flour, edible vegetable oil, salt, and milk.
Fortification prevents micronutrient deficiencies while minimizing the need for behavior change. It is considered as one of the most cost effective and sustainable solutions for improving the health of communities at scale along with diverse diet, supplementation and bio-fortification.
Across the globe, food fortification has been identified as one of the key interventions by Government of India and is now a part of national flagship programs such as POSHAN Abhiyaan and Anaemia Mukht Bharat as a preventive strategy to tackle anemia.
In India, rice fortification has the highest potential among staple food fortification programs as it is a staple for 65% of the population, and reaches the most vulnerable and poorest sections of the country.
Moreover, rice has the highest uptake in the government safety net programs, including the Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-Day Meal Scheme (MDM), and Integrated Child Development Services ICDS, reaching nearly 800 million vulnerable people, especially women and children.
Of the five staples identified by FSSAI, considering the benefits of consumption of fortified rice and highest uptake in the government safety net programs, the Department of Food and Public Distribution (DoFPD) had initiated a pilot scheme for distribution of fortified rice in 15 Indian states that started in 2019.
In another monumental move, all rice distributed under ICDS and MDM is fortified.
The Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, through his national address on 75th Indian Independence Day, had shared his vision that all rice in the Public Distribution System will be fortified by 2024.That move seems to have taken off.