Bhubaneswar (Odisha), November 11 (ANI): The government of Odisha signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with WorldFish to introduce fish and fish-based products in Supplementary Nutrition Programme (SNP) for a period of five years, on Wednesday.
The SNP is for children (aged between 3 to 6 years), pregnant, nursing women and adolescent girls belonging to the lower-income group. It aims to improve health and nutritional status.
The programme is being implemented here in 50 Anganwadi Centres (AWCs) of Mayurbhanj district in collaboration with WorldFish. As of now, it is a pilot study and if this initiative proves to be successful, SNP can be scaled up.
The decision to include fish in SNP has been taken by the State Government on the advice of the Technical Advisory Group that consists of experts from National Institute of Nutrition, CFTRI, ICMR-RMRC etc.
As per the Mission Shakti Department and Ministry of Women and Child Development, the objective of the MoU is to scale up the activities of the SNP initiative thereby empowering Mission Shakti Department's Women Self Help Groups (WSHGs) who are primarily involved in providing nutrition-sensitive fish production systems to Gram Panchayat tanks and other fish processing markets.
The Ministry also said that Women SHGs in the coastal fishing villages will also be trained for seeking business opportunities in solar dried fish and fish powder as per the guidelines of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).
"Such innovations will go a long way in accelerating nutrition status in the state," said Suresh Mohapatra, Development Commissioner of Odisha.
He further hoped that not only it will make the best use of locally available fisheries but will also help in economically empowering women in the long run.
Dr Gareth Johnstone, Director General of WorldFish informed that technical experts from WorldFish would support WSHGs in preparation of fish powder by encouraging the use of hygienically solar fish driers for six months temporarily.
ICAR-Central Institute of Fisheries Technology, Cochin that is India's research partner at World Fish stated that it will also supply low cost poly house solar fish driers for this program. (ANI)