India’s ambitious Zero Hunger Programme through interventions in farm sector will be launched on occasion of World Food Day (October 16) with focus on agriculture, nutrition and health in a symbiotic manner.
The Programme will be initiated by Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) in association with Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), MS Swaminathan Research Foundation and Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC).
The programme consists of organisations of farming system for nutrition, setting up genetic gardens for biofortified plants and initiation of ‘Zero Hunger’ training. A genetic garden for biofortified plants contains germplasm of naturally biofortified crops through plant breeding. It has plants and crops that help supplement micro-nutrient deficiencies, including iron, zinc, vitamin A and iodine among others.
The Programme initially will be launched in three districts – Gorakhpur (Uttar Pradesh), Koraput (Odisha) and Thane (Maharashtra). These three districts will act as model of integrated approach to deal with hunger and malnutrition by adopting suitable agricultural or horticultural practices.
The Programme will ensure suitable methods of measuring impact of intervention by identifying the nutritional maladies in each district and applying appropriate agricultural/horticultural and animal husbandry remedies.
This dedicated farm-based programme is in sync with India’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end hunger by 2030. It will be in addition government’s plan to deal with issue of malnutrition through various other initiatives under its goal to make India malnutrition free by 2022.