Berhampur: Odisha government has decided to provide fortified rice under the public distribution system (PDS) from January next year in tribal- dominated Malkangiri district, officials said on Thursday.
The government has decided to launch the pilot project for the distribution of fortified rice rich with mineral and vitamin to address the problem of anaemia of the people in Malkangiri district, the officials said. NITI Aayog has identified 15 districts across the country for implementation of the distribution of fortified rice. Of these, they identified Malkanagiri from our state, Food Supply and Consumer Welfare minister RP Swain said.
Swain said all the beneficiaries under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) and the State Food Security Scheme (SFSS) in Malkangiri district would get the fortified rice. The scheme would be extended in other districts based on the success of the project in Malkanagiri, he said.
The minister said the state government would float a tender to identify the agency to supply the fortified rice. Replying a question, the minister said the government was yet to calculate the volume of fortified rice required for the purpose. Swain who visited Chhatrapur along with the states agriculture minister Arun Sahoo on Wednesday said this in the sideline of a felicitation programme, organized by Rushikulya Rait Mahasabha, a farmers organization in Ganjam district.
The fortified rice kernels will be blended with the rice in a ratio of 1:100, it means, 1MT of FRK is mechanically blended with every 100 MTs of rice to get 101 MTs of appropriately fortified rice. Beneficiaries would get iron, Vitamin B12, and folic acid.
Consumption of fortified rice would improve the nutritional quality of the food supply and to reduce the anaemia level in the district, said minister. The state government presently supply fortified rice to students under the mid-day meal in Gajapati, the only district in the state since 2013.
The fortified rice in MDM was launched with covering 81,314 students in 1,230 schools in the Gajapati district. The anaemia level among the school going children in the district was reduced by 28 per cent after the implementation of the scheme in the last six years, a study conducted by the ICMR-RMRC (Regional Medical Research Center) Bhubaneswar, revealed.