The Union Minister of Women and Child Development (WCD) and Textiles, Smriti Zubin Irani, will announce Bharatiya Poshan Krishi Kosh (BPKK) on Monday, 18th November 2019 in New Delhi. The BPKK will be a repository of diverse crops across 128 agro-climatic zones in India for better nutritional outcomes.
Smriti Zubin Irani will deliver the keynote address during the function. Mr. Bill Gates, Co-chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will deliver a special address. Eminent agricultural scientist Prof. M. S. Swaminathan will give a special message on this occasion.
The launch of POSHAN Abhiyaan in 2018, the Prime Minister’s Overarching Scheme for Holistic Nutrition to reduce malnutrition through a multi-sectoral results-based framework, offers India an opportunity to reduce malnutrition. The Mission aims at targeted reduction of stunting, undernutrition, anemia and low birth weight babies. A novel feature of the POSHAN Abhiyaan is its focus on social and behavioral change among parents and for improving linkages between communities and the health systems towards paving the way for a mass movement to promote a transformative change.
The Government of India’s efforts towards better nutrition has revolved around providing nutritional supplement and other supply side schemes. However, two other approaches are required to complement the Government’s efforts to promote healthy dietary practices. One, addressing the challenge of malnutrition at such a vast scale requires a basic understanding of the social, behavioral and cultural practices that promote and reinforce healthy dietary behaviours both at the individual and community level including the variation in such practices across India. Two, creating the first ever data base that links relevant agro-food system data at the district, with an aim to map the diversity of native crop varieties that will be more cost-effective and sustainable over the long run.
At the request of the Ministry of WCD the Harvard Chan School of Public Health through its India Research Center and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will document and evaluate promising regional dietary practices and the messaging around them and develop a food atlas on regional agro-food systems. Both efforts are aimed at mobilizing the diverse sectors of the society.
In consultation with Ministry of WCD and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the project team will select around 12 high focus states which are representative of the geographical, social, economic, cultural and structural diversities of India. In each of the states or group of states the team will identify a local partner organization which has relevant work experience in Social and Behavior Change Communication (SBCC) and nutrition for developing the food atlas.