Palakkad: A central government agriculture research institute has launched an ambitious campaign in a village in Attapadi, one of Kerala’s tribal heartlands, for promoting health and wellness of tribals in a natural way at an affordable cost. The programme titled ‘Rainbow Diet Campaign’ was launched by ICAR–Central Tuber Crops Research Institute (CTCRI), Thiruvananthapuram in collaboration with Regional Agricultural Research Station (RARS), Pattambi on Friday (June 16).
This is a field intervention programme for promoting production and utilisation of biofortified tuber crop varieties developed by ICAR–CTCRI at Agali, an official release said on Saturday (June 17).
Officials said nutrient-rich tuber crops such as orange-and purple-fleshed sweet potato (rich in Vitamin A and anthocyanin) and purple-fleshed yam (rich in anthocyanin) were introduced in the tribal areas of Sholayur and Pulimala areas of Attapadi in Palakkad district.
A tuber crops rainbow diet consisting of a plateful of food products developed from biofortified sweet potato, cassava and millets that would provide balanced nutrition for addressing the malnutrition issue in Attapadi was also introduced on the occasion.
Currently, the Rainbow Diet Campaign project is implemented through three specialised programmes — Nutriseed Village, SCHOOL CONNECT programme and Capacity Plus, the release said.
Under the Nutriseed village scheme, 24 tribal farmers from Vayaloor and Chitoor villages are involved in production of quality planting materials of biofortified sweet potato varieties Bhu Sona, Bhu Ja, Bhu Kanti (orange flesh) and Bhu Krishna (purple flesh), it said.
Launching the programme at a stakeholders meeting conducted in Kerala Institute of Local Administration (KILA) campus, Dr G Byju, Director, ICAR-CTCRI said a new satellite incubation centre will be set up in RARS, Pattambi for promoting tribal entrepreneurship. At least 170 farmers and other stakeholders participated in the meeting.
In his presidential address, Dr P P Musa, Professor, RARS, KAU, Pattambi said that biofortified sweet potato can fit well in the millet-based consumption systems in Attapadi and will address the malnutrition problem in the region. Planting materials of biofortified sweet potato were distributed to the farmers.
A nutrition awareness programme on biofortified tuber crops was also organised at the Malleswara Vidhyanikedhan in Nellippathy hamlet to promote healthy eating among school children.
While inaugurating the programme, Byju called for implementing a three-pronged strategy for promoting biofortified crops in school.
This includes creation of nutritional awareness through specialised campaigns, providing experiential learning for children in growing biofortified crops in the school gardens and making them ambassadors of change for promoting biofortified and nutritious crops in their neighbourhood and communities.
After the launching ceremony, the students planted biofortified sweet potato varieties in the school garden. About 100 students took part in the ceremony.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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