Agri Business

How a nutrition initiative in Kerala is helping households eat better

V Sajeev Kumar Kochi | Updated on December 22, 2020 Published on December 22, 2020

Krishi Vigyan Kendra’s Nutrition Garden project provides families with vegetable seeds and training

The Kottoor Grama panchayat in Kozhikode is slowly stepping towards self-sufficiency in nutritional food crop cultivation. Nutritional Garden, an initiative of the Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK), is expected to bring in drastic changes in the food habits of many families from Kottoor, an adopted village of KVK.

A team of officials from KVK, a subsidiary of the Indian Institute of Spices Research (IISR), has completed the distribution of vegetable seeds and training programme to 25 families in the panchayat. KVK has also included three anganwadis in the panchayat under the scheme, aiming to ensure nutrition supply to children, adolescents and pregnant women from the region.

“Nutrition gardens are sustainable models for food security,” said Santhosh J Eapen, Director, IISR. “It is an affordable means to ensure healthy food and balanced nutrition in our rural livelihoods,” he added.

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Smart Nutrition Village scheme

The project under the Smart Nutrition Village scheme aims to ensure nutrition supply to all children. It is a year-long project under which the institute supplies locally available and indigenous seeds to the families nearby so that they can grow vegetables in their kitchen garden and ensure uninterrupted supply of vegetables for their household needs.

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KVK officials have completed many training programmes for the beneficiary families in vegetable cultivation, organic farming, vermi composting and other agriculture-related topics. The project is also underway in two other panchayats — Muthukadu and Naduvannur.

As the beneficiary families are offered vermi compost units along with the seeds, they are able to generate fertilizers from kitchen waste. KVK is promoting an integrated farming model for residents and many have started rearing poultry and goats along with vegetables.

Apart from seed supply and training, KVK also carries out nutrition intake surveys among the beneficiary families to review the impact of the garden on their nutrition intake. It evaluates the food consumption time of children and adults and assesses the vegetable intake by the family members.

The new project is also helping the households save the expense of buying vegetables. A group of selected beneficiaries will get yearlong support for setting up nutrition gardens, the officials said.

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Published on December 22, 2020
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