New Delhi (NVI): The ambitious Bharatiya Poshan Krishi Kosh (BPKK), which promises to revive traditional food systems across the country while addressing malnutrition, was officially launched here today.
The Kosh, which will be a repository of diverse crops across 128 agro-climatic zones in India for better nutritional outcomes, was launched by Union Minister of Women and Child Development (WCD) and Textiles Zubin Irani along with Bill Gates, co-chair of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The BKKP assumes importance in the backdrop of a World Bank report that the annual cost of malnutrition in India is at least $10 billion and is driven by loss of productivity, illness and death. Analyses have shown that in order to achieve zero hunger in India by 2030, India will have to liberate nearly 50,000 people from hunger, every day.
At the launch programme Secretary, Ministry of WCD, Rabindra Panwar, handed over the letter of intent to Hari Menon, Director, India Country Office, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
On this occasion, eminent agricultural scientist, Dr. M. S. Swaminathan, in his address, said that to make India nutrition secure a five-point action programme has to be implemented.
He said these action points to focus on “Ensuring calorie rich diet for women, expectant mothers and children,” “Ensuring intake of proteins in the form of pulses to eradicate protein hunger in women and children,” “Eradicating hidden hunger due to deficiency of micro nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin B, Iron and Zinc,” “Ensuring clean drinking water supply,” and “Spreading nutrition literacy in every village particularly in mothers with children less than 100 days’ old.”
Dr. Swaminathan further said that lack of proper nutrition among children affects not only the physical development of the child growing into adulthood but also affects brain development. He urged the Ministry of WCD to create a band of community hunger fighters who will be trained to deal with hunger among women, expectant mothers and children by following this five-point action programme.
Minister WCD while delivering the keynote address said that this is a unique occasion where a tech giant is on the same platform as farmers and civil society members to promote a nutrition strong India.
Bill Gates in his address said that if there was one problem that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation would like to solve in India it is the problem of malnutrition among women, expectant mothers and children. “Solving this problem will bring about a dramatic change in the development of India and help the country to attain the SDGs,” he said.