Puducherry chief minister V Narayanasamy recently launched a unique series of initiatives to build a ‘Nutrition-Secure’ Puducherry at the Pillayarkuppam village, in the union territory recently. Amidst a gathering of over 300 women from various collectives, at the ‘Biovillage’ of the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF), the chief minister said, this was yet another step forward in ensuring better nutrition for the people of the state. “We have special schemes for children in the fields of agriculture and dairy. However, nutrition security needs many other dimensions, though Puducherry is a frontrunner in nutrition more importance should be given to make the state ‘Nutrition Secure’. We are happy that scientific research organisations like the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation are working to support this cause.”
Speaking on the occasion through a video message from Chennai, Prof MS Swaminathan emphasised on the five aspects of nutrition that were required, “We have to address calorie deficiency, protein malnutrition, micro-nutrient deficiency, water and sanitation and focus on nutrition awareness. A combination of all these can show a path to ‘nutrition security”, he said.
Dr Anil Kumar, Executive Director, MSSRF explained the importance of scientific approaches in development. “The Biovillage, in fact, signifies life in a holistic manner. Science plays a part in providing solutions of how we can carry on agriculture and related activities to achieve better quality of nutrition and life while safeguarding the environment that we are in.”
A garden of ‘nutrition-rich plants’ – developed thematically for different micronutrients – was inaugurated by the chief minister on the occasion. Stalls of farming and fishing communities displayed their products focusing on the theme of nutrition.
While nutrition indicators in Puducherry are better than other states, Dr RV Bhavani, Director – Agriculture, Health and Nutrition pointed out the high obesity in adults at (women 36.7 percent, men 37.1 percent) were concerns. Anaemia in young children and women were also concerns. Dr GN Hariharan explained the 5-path initiative in greater detail, the relevance of the garden of nutri-rich plants and how the concept of nutrition secure Puducherry would be taken forward.
A number of women’s groups members, farming communities, government department officials and scientists from the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation, attended the event.