SCHOOLS TURN NUTRITION GARDENS IN MIZORAM DISTRICT
What’s in news?
The Mizoram’s Lawngtlai district started a new initiative to provide nutritional fruits and vegetables to the peoples.
- A powerful SUV takes almost nine hours on non-rainy days to cover 296 km from Aizawl, Mizoram capital, southward the State’s remotest district Lawngtlai bordering Bangladesh and Myanmar.
- Loaded commercial vehicles from Assam’s Silchar, 180 km north of Aizawl, take ages to deliver the quality fruits and vegetables.
- By the time the pick-up or mini-trucks reach Lawngtlai, the fruits and vegetables are usually not fit to be consumed and the best of the lot are too expensive for many to buy.
- This results in nutrition deficiency among the Chakma and Lai ethnic minorities.
- Lawngtlai has 3% stunted, 21.3% underweight and 5.9% severely wasted (low weight-for-height) children under 5 — highest on all counts in Mizoram.
- Shashanka Ala was posted as the Deputy Commissioner of Lawngtlai, Mizoram’s most backward and disaster-prone district.
- For this above-mentioned issue, Ms. Ala and her team designed a remedial concept called “Kan Sikul, Kan Huan”. Means “My School, My Farm”. This is to reduce malnutrition and stuntedness among children.
- As per this concept, making school children, their parents and teachers involving to create a nutrition garden in each school.
- The children are being taught manuring and making their own compost pit and the local people are providing water and other logistical help.
- The first phase of the programme covering 213 schools, Anganwadi centres and childcare institutes was launched a few days ago.
- Another 188 would be added in the second phase while the third phase focussing on livestock and poultry farming would cover all 776 schools and centres to benefit 15,042 children.
- The aim is to make every school, Anganwadi, child care institution and hostel in Lawngtlai self-sufficient in the local variety of fruits and vegetables by March 2020.
- The best part of the initiative, was that it did not involve expenses beyond providing the seeds of certain varieties of fruits and vegetables.
Importance of Nutrition:
- Nutrition is one of the three major factors that impact a child’s development, where the relationship between nutrition, health and learning is unavoidably strong. The following are the positive impacts of good nutrition;
- Support Optimal Growth
- Improve better problem-solving abilities, recall, memory, verbal fluency and creativity.
- A healthful diet and good nutrition are crucial in preventing some of the issues inadequate nutrition can cause such as short stature and delayed puberty, nutrient deficiencies and dehydration, menstrual irregularities, poor bone health, increased risk of injuries, poor academic performance and increased risk of eating disorders.
Malnutrition in India:
- India has the maximum number of malnourished children in the world – 1 in every 3 children are malnourished.
- Malnutrition in India has become a situation that haunts the lives of millions of children.
- Among the 472 million children (2011 census), a whopping 97 million are anaemic and undernourished. For children five years or younger, close to 40% (actually 38.7%) are stunted (below normal height for the age), 19.8% are wasted (underweight and short) and 42.4% are underweight.
- The data-set revealed by the latest NFHS-4, states that nine out of the 11 states surveyed have not been able to reduce the rate of Infant Mortality even by 2 points annually. And that, 40 out of 1000 infants don’t get to celebrate their first birthday.