BHOPAL: Honourable Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh Mr. Shivraj Singh Chouhan today launched an important pilot project to improve food security and nutrition among the state’s most needy districts of Chhattarpur, Tikamgarh and Panna. The project, which is valued at US$ 4 million, is principally funded by Cargill and also supported by the Government of Japan. It will be jointly implemented by the Madhya Pradesh government and the United Nations World Food Programme.
The project primarily aims to help reduce child malnutrition and break the vicious cycle of nutritional deficiency. The project is expected to benefit about one million people, especially children under six, as well as pregnant and lactating women.
To achieve these objectives, the project includes the training of government service delivery workers for increased efficiency in services, food fortification for better nutrition, the promotion of safe drinking water to bring down associated morbidity, and the establishment of household kitchen gardens to promote a healthy diet as well as provide a means of earning income.
Under this project, alternative employment opportunities will also be provided to local women’s groups who will be empowered to improve their understanding of nutrition and hygienic practices for the overall improved health of women and children.
“We are very encouraged by the support given to us by the state government of Madhya Pradesh as well as private and public sector donors. I am confident that, through this project, we will be able to reach out to some of the most vulnerable so that they are able to lead healthier and more productive lives,” said Mihoko Tamamura, WFP Representative for India.
“Cargill is proud to be a partner of this project to help make a significant difference to the lives of some of India’s most vulnerable. We are confident that the combined efforts of the state government and WFP will realize fast and effective outcomes. Cargill hopes that the success of this project will enable the development of a scalable model for India to improve nutrition and food security,” said Siraj Chaudhry, country representative of Cargill India.
Cargill’s project partnership with the WFP is part of its “Nourishing India” initiative that unites the company’s various programmes to address nutrition through fortifying edible oil, improving access to nutritious food and engaging stakeholders to share the company’s expertise and insights for realizing a safe and secure food supply.
In Madhya Pradesh, undernutrition is a major public health challenge. An undernourished child is unable to develop properly and suffers damage to cognitive development that is, tragically, irreversible. Interventions, therefore, must focus on the early window of opportunity in a child’s life. Adequate healthcare and access to safe drinking water and sanitation are other important factors that contribute to a child’s improved growth and overall development.
Cargill is the main donor for this project and has contributed US$ 3 million. The company is an international producer and marketer of food, agricultural, financial and industrial products and services. Founded in 1865, the privately held company employs 138,000 people in 67 countries. Cargill first established a presence in India in 1987, the company’s operation including the origination, handling, processing and production of a wide range of products including refined oils, grain and oilseeds, sugar, cotton, animal feed and flavors. Cargill also markets to consumers quality edible oils under India’s two leading edible oil brands ‘NatureFresh’ and ‘Gemini’.
Government of Japan has contributed US$ 750,000 towards this project.