Bhubaneswar: Nutritious Ragi (millet) laddus has been introduced as a morning snack for pre-school children in Keonjhar district from Wednesday (July 1) under the Integrated Child Development Service (ICDS) Scheme.
As per an official press communiqué, two ragi laddus per week will be prepared and served to children at Anganwadis in addition to the existing menu.The ragi laddu mix will be prepared by Self Help Groups (SHGs) and home-delivered till COVID protocol is in force.
The programme for providing ragi laddus has been taken up in 335 Anganwadis of the district’s Sadar block on a two-month pilot phase from July 1. About one lakh pre-school children are targeted to be covered in the district from September, the official communiqué said.
The total budget of the project is Rs 1.5 crore per annum for the district which is being supported by District Mineral Fund, Keonjhar, the communiqué added.
Ragi is considered to have better calcium, iron and protein content as compared to polished rice.
The Odisha Government has launched a special programme for promotion of millets in tribal areas under the Odisha Millet Mission.
According to the Mission’s website milletsodisha.com, traditionally the highly nutritious millet formed a substantial part of the diets and the cropping system in the tribal areas of Odisha.
Millets require less water and are more resilient to climate vulnerability. The crop is also cultivable in undulating terrain.
Paddy gaining prominence in the Public Distribution System (PDS) has resulted in reduced consumption of millet, resulting in extreme cases of nutritional deficiency.
It has also led to unsustainable cropping systems increasing the demand for water.
The website further says that millet is the answer to address both increased crop failures and nutritional deficiency and need to be revived.