Free chapatis of fortified wheat flour at Pushkar Fair

November 5th, 2011 - 11:49 pm ICT by IANS  

Pushkar (Rajasthan), Nov 5 (IANS) Chapatis made of fortified wheat flour and pulses are being served free to generate awareness on nutrition at Rajasthan’s annual Pushkar Fair, presently underway in the state.

Pushkar Fair, being held Nov 3-10, is the yearly camel and livestock fair which draws thousands of people from across the world.

“The Pushkar Fair gives us the perfect opportunity to conduct a campaign on public awareness on food fortification as people from all walks of life come to the fair,” said Dhirendra Kumar of the Indian Institute of Health Management and Research (IIHMR), Jaipur.

The IIHMR, in association with the Rajasthan government, is spearheading India’s biggest food fortification project in the state with technical and financial support from the international developmental agency Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN).

Apart from supplying wheat flour fortified with iron, vitamin B12 and folic acid, plans are afoot to fortify oil and milk with vitamin A also in a three-way approach to bring down soaring rates of micronutrient malnutrition in the state.

As per available figures compiled by various NGOs, around 75 percent of children and 55 percent of pregnant women suffer from malnutrition in Rajasthan.

The Rajasthan fortification project seeks to establish food-based strategies, especially fortification, as one of the primary nutritional interventions in the fight against malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies.

The state government is already supplying fortified wheat flour in all 33 districts of the state and the GAIN project supports and supplements the government initiative.

During the fair, people are being invited to a stall set up by Via Media and Communications, the social marketing arm of IIHMR, where chapatis made of fortified wheat flour and dal are offered to people.

“What we are trying to do at Pushkar is explain people that a chapati made of fortified wheat flour is good to eat, it is healthy and it makes no difference to either taste or colour,” said Swadeep Srivastava, CEO of Via Media and Communications.

He said their stall at the fair had received a good response from visitors.

Food fortification is one of the most effective food-based approach especially in low per capita income states like Rajasthan as it is considerably more cost-effective than supplementation.

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