Karnataka will distribute ragi, a finger millet endemic to South India, under its ‘Anna Bhagya’ scheme from the next month.
The distribution of ragi, considered one of the most nutritious of foods, is rich in calcium and protein with a good amount of iron and other minerals and also has a low fat content, and will be distributed under the public distribution scheme (PDS) across select districts.
Food and Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Minister Dinesh Gundu Rao said here in Mysuru that ragi was highly nutritious and hence the government had taken steps to distribute it along with rice to beneficiaries of the ‘Anna Bhagya’ scheme under the PDS. Besides providing nutritious grains to the people, distribution of ragi under PDS would also help support farmers who cultivate the crop.
The government had obtained stocks of 1.38 mn tn of ragi during 2014-15, he said, while inaugurating a campaign on “Our Food, Our Future”.
Seminar, demonstration, talk, and exhibition were part of the awareness programme, organised by the Mysuru Zilla Panchayat, to create awareness among the people on food production, storage, protection, steps to check adulteration, supply of nutritious food, stopping food wastage, ill-effects of the modern varieties of foods and creating awareness on these issues.
The minister said, scientists considered ragi highly nutritious, more than rice and wheat. Hence, its distribution to cardholders was a significant decision taken by the government, when state and Centre were grappling with the big challenge of fighting malnutrition. Food stocks that can meet the needs for over a year and half were stored in godowns across the country and it needed to be scientifically-stored and protected so that the stocks would not perish and go waste. The lack of proper care had resulted in a loss of over Rs 40,000 crore across the country.
Therefore, all efforts should be made to properly store and protect our food stocks.
Over 200 million people suffered hunger each year in the country and 1,000s were dying of hunger. Hence, food saved should benefit these people. Children should get nutritious food right from an early age, Rao added.