“Poshan Vatikas or Nutri-gardens- a key plank of the Poshan Abhiyaan to enable the right kind of nourishment ”

POSHAN Abhiyaan (erstwhile National Nutrition Mission) was launched in March 2018 to achieve improvement in nutritional status of Children from 0-6 years, Adolescent Girls, Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers in a time bound manner and to achieve reduction in stunting and wasting in children (0-6 years) as well as reduction in anemia in women, children and adolescent girls. The Abhiyaan has been rolled out in all the 36 States/UTs. A key plank of the Abhiyaan to enable the right kind of nourishment are the Poshan Vatikas or Nutri-gardens that are being set up across the country to provide easy and affordable access to fruits, vegetables, medicinal plants and herbs. To encourage diet-diversity and consumption of wholesome local produce, around 4 lakhs Poshan Vatikas have been developed at AWCs. 1.10 lakh medicinal plants were planted in 21 districts in 6 States of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, and Mizoram during Poshan Pakhwada 2021.

During Poshan Maah 2022, activities for setting-up nutri-gardens or retro-fitting Poshan Vatikas with backyard poultry / fishery units was carried out across the country. More than 1.5 lakh events on retrofitting Poshan Vatikas with backyard poultry and fishery units have been reported. Also, more than 75 thousand sensitization camps have been conducted to promote millets and backyard kitchen gardens.

Through Poshan Vatikas, aim 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. Poshan Vatikas can play an important role in enhancing dietary diversity by providing key micronutrients through local fruits and vegetables. Poshan Vatikas are a good example of convergent action on-ground. Beyond the reward of locally available wholesome produce, it will reduce external dependency and make communities Atmanirbhar for their nutritional security.

As per Scheme Guidelines for Mission Saksham Anganwadi and Poshan 2.0 (Mission Poshan 2.0), indicative salient features of Poshan Vatikas recommend plants/herbs/trees that may be cultivated:

  1. Green vegetables)- Spinach (palak), Methi, Amaranthus Spr. (Choulai), Asparagus (Shatawari), Bacopamonnieri (Brahmi), Boerhavia (punarnava), Chenopodium (Bathua), Dioscorea (Ratalu)
  2. Medicinal Plants/ Fruit Trees (5-6 tress): Moringa (Sahajan), Papita, Karhipatta, Lemon (Nimbu), Amla, Punica (Anar) etc
  3. Boundary crops- Shatawari, Lemon grass, Giloy ete

The State/UT wise number of Anganwadis equipped with Poshan Vatikas including the state of Bihar is at Annexure I.

(d) Launched on 8th March, 2018, by the Hon’ble Prime Minister, POSHAN Abhiyaan aims to improve nutritional outcomes for children, adolescents, pregnant women & lactating mothers. The 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 and by creation of a convergent eco-system to develop and promote practices that nurture health, wellness and immunity.

Mission Poshan 2.0 is designed to address the issue of malnutrition through transparency, accountability, balanced diets, diet diversity and quality, greater grassroots involvement and last-mile delivery of services supported by key strategies, viz., corrective strategies to address nutrition related deficiencies, nutrition awareness strategies to develop good eating habits for sustainable health and well-being, strategies for communication and development of green eco-systems such as Poshan Vatikas at or near Anganwadi Centres, wherever possible and in Government led schools and Gram Panchayat lands where benefits can easily be given to women and children. Under Poshan 2.0, focus is on diet diversity, food fortification, leveraging traditional systems of knowledge and popularizing use of millets. Nutrition awareness strategies under Poshan 2.0 aim to develop sustainable health and well-being through regional meal plans to bridge dietary gaps.. Further, greater emphasis is being given on the use of millets for preparation of Hot Cooked Meal and Take Home rations (not raw ration) at Anganwadi centres for Pregnant Women, Lactating Mothers and Children below 6 years of age, as millets have high nutrient content which includes protein, essential fatty acid, dietary fibre, B-Vitamins, minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc, folic acid and other micro-nutrients thus helping to tackle anemia and other micro-nutrient deficiencies common among women and children. Further, under Mission Poshan 2.0, only fortified rice is being allocated to States/UTs

This information was given by the Union Minister of Women & Child Devlopment, Smt. Smriti Zubin Irani, in a written reply in Lok Sabha today.

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