Drumstick Trees, Local Vegetables, Fruits In Poshan Vatikas Powering Nutrition Mission In Chhattisgarh
A kitchen garden at an Anganwadi centre in Chhattisgarh Twitter/@WCDCgGov
Green leafy vegetables, pumpkins, different varieties of gourds, the ever-nutritious drumsticks and more, are being grown in kitchen gardens, or Poshan Vatikas, in tribal hamlets of Chhattisgarh as a means to strengthen the nutrition base of the families and take forward the Poshan Abhiyaan.
Across the tribal-dominated districts of Chhattisgarh, inhabited by the poor and marginalized, the government has launched the Poshan Vatika scheme to raise the nutrition levels of people, especially women and children.
“We are focusing on growing drumsticks, green leafy vegetables and fruit trees in the Poshan Vatikas,” Dr. M. Geetha, Principal Secretary, Women and Child Development, Chhattisgarh, said at an event on Agri-Nutrition in the capital.
In the Left-Wing Extremism areas of Chhattisgarh, especially Bastar, the government, with the support of Unicef, is focusing on kitchen gardens and on crop diversification, with focus on millet cultivation, which are rich in nutrients.
The Poshan Vatikas, promoted through women Self Help Groups, is benefitting households in the villages, she said. The families are encouraged to go in for growing different vegetables, mostly local varieties, and fruits in their backyard spaces, primarily for home consumption, and are provided with the critical inputs, including seeds.
The Poshan Vatikas are a source of fresh and healthy food for children and expectant mothers, and also for the Anganwadi community kitchens in remote areas of the state that focus on child support and welfare.
Chhattisgarh has also launched the new idea of “Narva, Guruva, Ghurva and Baadi” (NGGB) to strengthen the rural economy, Geetha said.
The Narva, Guruva, Ghurva and Baadi programme is being implemented through convergence between various departments such as Horticulture, Agriculture and Livestock, Panchayati Raj and Rural Development and the Forest Department.
Narva focuses on watershed management and revitalizing the water table and water resources, Guruva focuses on the livestock management, like cattle, goat, Ghurva focuses on composting and creating biogas with the bio waste collected of cattle and goats through stall feeding – where the domesticated animals are confined and fed in a stall, especially for fattening.
Baadi is a nutri-garden with different types of fruits, vegetables and other crop for home consumption.
“Work is on and we are looking forward to very positive results from this,” said the official.
Rajesh Kumar, Joint Secretary & Mission Director, Poshan Abhiyaan, said the government was encouraging the setting up of such “nutri baris”, or Poshan Vatikas. The government is also encouraging the growing of drumsticks in the kitchen baris. “Drumsticks are very good for nutrition,” he said.
The drumstick tree, known scientifically as Moringa oleifera, is a tropical plant grown for its nutritious leafy greens, flower buds, and mineral-rich green fruit pods.
Food scientists believe the moringa plant possesses unique nutritional qualities for those suffering from malnourishment and need dietary supplements like protein, minerals, and vitamins.
The leaves are said to be a good source of amino acids and a rich source of vitamin A, iron and magnesium.
The pods, which are used in dishes across India, are rich in Vitamin C besides other nutrients.