PM announces rice fortification plan to tackle malnutrition

Source: Indian Express

What is the News?

The Prime Minister has announced that rice distributed under various government schemes such as the public distribution system (PDS) and mid-day meal (MDM) will be fortified by 2024.

Read more: Food Fortification of India
Why Rice Fortification?
  1. India is one of the largest producers of rice. India also accounts for 22 percent of the world’s rice production. Further, India is also a leading consumer, with a per capita rice consumption of 6.8 kg/month.
  2. However, in India. every second woman is anaemic, and every third child is stunted. 
  3. India ranks 94 out of 107 countries and is in the ‘serious hunger’ category on the Global Hunger Index (GHI).
  4. Hence, rice fortification has been found as a cost-effective strategy to tackle the problem of micronutrient malnutrition (shortage of essential vitamins or minerals) especially among women and children.

Note: Seven countries have mandated rice fortification – USA, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Papua New Guinea, Philippines and Solomon Islands.

How will the rice be fortified?
  1. According to the norms of the Food and Safety Standards Authority of India, 1 kg of fortified rice must contain iron (28 mg-42.5 mg), folic acid (75-125 mg) and vitamin B-12 (0.75-1.25 mg). In addition, rice may also be fortified with micronutrients singly or in combination.

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