The Milk Fortification project, a joint initiative of World Bank, Tata Trusts and National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), aims to process about two million tonnes of fortified liquid milk during the next 23 months to reach 30 million consumers as a strategy to tackle malnutrition.
Inaugurating an awarness workshop on ‘Sustaining Efforts of Milk Production in India’ on Friday, National Dairy Development Board Chairman Dilip Rath said Vitamin A and D deficiencies were widely prevalent in India.
“Fortification of appropriate foods with Vitamin A and D is a viable strategy to tackle micronutrient malnutrition,” he added.
Rath said about two billion people globally suffer from micronutrient deficiencies accounting for nearly 10 per cent of the global health burden.
According to 2009 reports of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), India bears the burden of more than a quarter of the world’s Vitamin A deficient preschool children and more than 13 million susceptible infants to iodine deficiency.
According to National Family Health Survey-4 data, 38.4 per cent of children five years of age in India are stunted, 21 per cent wasted and 35.7 per cent are underweight.
“Milk in India has emerged as the best vehicle for fortification with its high volume of production, widespread distribution network, affordability and all around acceptability in the daily food habit,” Rath pointed out.
“We are world’s largest milk producing country and our per capita milk availability has now increased to 375 grams per day,” he added.
Moreover, milk fortification was highly affordable and cost effective as it cost less than 2 to 3 paisa per litre, Rathid Rath said.
NDDB is providing consultancy service to World Bank for the implementation of the milk fortification project as well as technical and financial support to the milk federations for project implementation, including development of standard operating procedures (SOPs) for milk fortification and testing, quality assurance and quality control for milk fortification, conducting fortification training building and developing promotion materials.
Rajan Sankar, Director, The India Nutrition Initiative (TINI), Edward W Bresnyan, Senior Agricultural Economist, World Bank, Madhusudan Rao, Nutrition Lead, Tata Trusts, Vivek Arora, Senior Advisor, Tata Trusts, Dr RK Marwaha, Member of scientific panel, FSSAI, Dr CS Pandav, Member, National Council for India’s Nutritional Challenges, Poshan Abhiyan, also participated in the workshop.
According to the NDDB Chairman, of the 25 project proposals approved, fortification has been launched in 15 milk federations and trials have completed in 10 others. About one million metric tonnes of milk has been fortified so far.