Akshaya Patra to launch food fortification plan
Published: Friday, May 25, 2012, 14:13 IST
Akshaya Patra Foundation (APF), which supplies mid-day meals to 1.3 million school children across the country a day including1.5 lakh kids in Bangalore, is planning to launch a food fortification initiative from this academic year to make the meal more nutritious.
Food fortification is a process by which essential vitamins and minerals are added to food; it helps fight malnutrition. APF’s food fortification programme will be launched in association with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and Karnataka Milk Federation (KMF). “Last month, we did a trial at our kitchen in Bangalore. We will launch the initiative in 10 schools this year and will extend it to other schools based on the feedback from the children,’’ said APF chief operating officer Jagdish Ramaswamy.
APF is planning to extend the mid-day meal programme to anganwadis. It has already completed a trial in Rajasthan. “We are ready to extend the mid-day meal programme to anganwadis in Karnataka provided the state government extends financial assistance. The extension of the mid-day programme will help address malnutrition-related problems among children in the state,’’ Ramaswamy said.
APF aims to supply mid-day meals to five million children by 2020. “We want donors who can adopt schools on a long-term basis. For example, we can supply nutritious food if donors adopt schools for three or more years instead of sponsoring one or two children for a year,’’ he said.
As part of its cost-cutting measures, APF has selected a strategic partner for sourcing and procuring food grains during harvest. “We saved around `1 crore last year and we expect to save `1.50 crore this year,’’ Ramaswamy said.
To help children have mid-day meal in a hygienic ambiance, APF plans to expand its operation beyond supplying meals to schools from this year. Plans are also in place to make APF’s kitchens green. “If donors help us convert our 10 kitchens to green ones, we can save `18 lakh a year,’’ he said.