NUAPADA: The State Government has decided to introduce traditional small millets to feed children at anganwadi centres in the district shortly. This will replace the ‘Sattu’, a mixture of Bengal gram flour, wheat and other cereals, being served to the children and which has run into controversy after insect and foreign bodies were found in the old stock of the food.A preparatory meeting, chaired by Zilla Parishad president Namita Pradhan and attended by the District Social Welfare Officer (DSWO), was held on ICDS Campus at Komna recently. It was decided at the meeting that the new food will be launched in Komna block as a pilot project and later it will be extended to other areas of the district.
Similarly, the decision will provide a major boost to cultivation of traditional small millet which is facing extinction despite being termed as ‘healthy food’ by dieticians and nutritionists across the globe. Ladoos made of ‘ragi’ was also prepared on the occasion and distributed among the children, who happily lapped it up.
Sources said 10 anganwadi centres have been identified in Komna block where food prepared from ‘ragi’, ‘kodo’ (another type of millet) and ‘gurji’ cereal will be served to children. Since majority of children in Komna suffer from malnutrition, it has been decided to launch the project Millet Mission in the block first. Farmers will be encouraged to grow millets and cereals while arrangements have been made to procure and process it by the members of SHGs. Similarly, two NGOs have been selected to implement the project.
The 10 selected anganwadi centres are located in Michapali, Karanbahali, Batibahal, Bisibahal, Litibahal, Barkot, Cherechuan, Khuligaon, Majhagaon and Salepada villages. Nuapada DSWO Rajlaxmi Raiguru said the Millet Mission is a multi-pronged strategy to tackle nutrition and promote traditional crop. The new meal will evince enthusiasm among the children and reflect on their health status. It will be extended to other anganwadi centres in the district if the results are positive, she added.