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Centre calls for “Poshan Vatikas” throughout country

Under the Poshan Maah Scheme, four lakh 37 thousand Anganwadi Centres have set up Poshan Vatikas or Nutri-gardens to provide easy and affordable access to fruits, vegetables, medicinal plants and herbs.

Statesman News Service | New Delhi |

The Ministry of Women and Child Development has called for the creation of “Poshan Vatikas” throughout the country in anticipation of the month-long Poshan Maah celebrations in September 2021.

The government said that four lakh 37 thousand Anganwadi Centres have set up Poshan Vatikas or Nutri-gardens to provide easy and affordable access to fruits, vegetables, medicinal plants and herbs. The Nutri-gardens have been set up under the Poshan Maah Scheme (2018) and aimed at improving nutritional outcomes for children, pregnant women and lactating mothers.

Under the Poshan Maah Scheme, efforts are being put into setting up Nutri gardens with backyard poultry and fishery units across the country. Around 1.10 lakh medicinal saplings have also been planted across some selected districts of six states. More than 75 thousand sensitization camps have been conducted to promote millets and backyard kitchen gardens. Beyond the locally available wholesome produce, these Nutri-gardens will reduce external dependency and will make communities proactive in maintaining their nutritional security.

To replicate the idea of Nutri-gardens around new Anganwadi centres, close to 40 thousand land identification drives have been conducted. Also, more than 1.5 lakh events on these nutria-gardens have been reported so far.

The main idea behind setting up of these gardens is to provide a fresh and regular supply of locally produced fruits, vegetables and medicinal plants to women and children straight from a Nutri-garden at or near an Anganwadi Centre. They can also play an important role in enhancing dietary diversity by providing key micronutrients through local fruits and vegetables.

Launched in 2018, POSHAN Abhiyaan is a key component of Mission Poshan 2.0 which seeks to address the challenges of malnutrition in children, adolescent girls, pregnant women and lactating mothers through a strategic shift in nutrition content and delivery. It also aims at promoting practices that nurture health, wellness and immunity.

In India, child malnutrition has been improving gradually. As per reports, comparing the two National Family Health Surveys conducted in the years 2016 and 2021, children who are underweight reduced by 3.7 percentage points, those who are stunted reduced by 2.9 percentage points, and those who are wasted reduced by 1.7 percentage points.