MUMBAI: In a novel initiative, the Reliance Foundation has decided to develop 25,000 kitchen gardens in the state-run child-care-centres (Anganwadi) in 16 of the 36 districts in Maharashtra.
A tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between the Rajmata Jijau Mother-Child Health Nutrition Mission (RJMCHNM), Department of Women and Child Development (DWCD) and Reliance Foundation (RF) here on Thursday.
RF has been helping communities set up small kitchen or backyard gardens, known as Reliance Nutrition Gardens (RNGs).
These are scientifically-developed, low cost, organic kitchen gardens that use a multi-tier cropping system to accommodate a variety of fruits and vegetables that helps improve health and nutritional parameters among farmer families across villages in India.
Development of such gardens in the vicinity of the Anganwadies have helped check malnutrition in the eight districts where the project was run on a pilot basis, said Jagannatha Kumar, CEO of the Reliance Foundation.
More than one lakh children are currently being provided with fresh fruits and vegetables through 7300 nutrition gardens. The project will now be extended to Beed, Jalna, Aurangabad, Ahmednagar, Gondia, Solapur, Nandurbar and Chandrapur, he added.
Minister for woman and child development department Pankaja Munde said that the government wants to ensure that every child in anganwadis gets access to fresh fruits and vegetables across the state.
The nutrition gardens are developed in area as small as 3 by 3 meters. Ms Munde who is also the rural development minister, said that the government would help the village panchayats to reserve that much of space for such gardens.