Koraput: Backyard Nutrition Garden is the way forward to counter malnutrition

 

Promotion of household nutrition garden in every household in the backward district of the country Koraput in Odisha is the way forward to counter malnutrition.

MS Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) has been made interventions in 47 villages in two Gram Panchayats in Boipariguda Block of Koraput district in Odisha, in collaboration with State Government to promote nutrition garden under the Project named “Strengthening Livelihoods and Enhancing Food and Nutrition Security of Small and Marginal Farmers in Koraput District of Odisha through a Farming System Model”. A memorandum of agreement was signed between MSSRF and the Directorate of Agriculture and Food Production (DoA & FP), Govt. of Odisha, Bhubaneswar, on 2 July 2018 to implement the Project.

The Project has been targeted to reach out to 1,500 small and marginal farmers’ households for improving their health, nutrition, and livelihoods by ensuring availability and access to nutrient-rich food in a farming system model.As per Baseline Survey of the Project, which was conducted in 2018-19, revealed that the diet of tribal people mostly confined to cereals. More than three-fourths of surveyed households consume well below the recommended daily intake by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

Based on this assessment, the promotion of household nutrition garden is one of the vital ways forward under the Project to counter malnutrition.A seasonal calendar of locally available vegetables has prepared. Based on it, Seed kits comprising seeds of location specific seasonal vegetables from all the three vegetable groups – green leafy vegetables, roots and tubers, and other vegetables along with seeds of some spices and pulses – distributed to households with backyard area. Orange flesh sweet potato (OFSP) has also been introduced and promoted in order to address Vitamin A deficiency in children.

Saplings of naturally fortified fruits and tree species (e.g., Moringa, Lemon, Amla, Papaya, Guava, Custard apple, and Banana) were also provided to 1433 households. Most of the households were also supported with the establishment of bio-inputs to avoid the use of chemical fertilizers. Makar Murjia from Semiliguda village expressed his happiness over MSSRF’s support in creating a nutrition garden in their backyard.

“We are happy as we were supported in installation of bio-inputs including Handikhata, Jibamrita and Vermicompost pits.We have been using it in our nutrition garden and access organic vegetables for household consumption” said Murija.

Besides supplying seeds kits and supporting in installation of Vermi-compost unit, Scientists from the Foundation also providing technical guidance and also arranging agriculture equipment.“Earlier, we were depend on the market for vegetables but with help of MSSRF’s scientists, our families can access nutritious vegetables in our backyard only” said Saba Khillo from Musapadar village.

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