Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: Odisha is all set to introduce, on a pilot basis in Mayurbhanj district, fish products in the Supplementary Nutrition Programme (SNP) in order to reduce malnutrition.

The Women and Child Development Department and WorldFish on Tuesday signed an MoU in a virtual ceremony for piloting of inclusion of fish and fish-based products in the SNP for children (3 to 6 years), pregnant and nursing women and adolescent girls in 50 Anganwadi centres of Mayurbhanj.

It is a 5-year technical collaboration between the Department and World Fish. Based on the outcome of the pilot project, the initiative will be scaled up, said an official.

The objective of the MoU is to scaling up the training and empowering Mission Shakti Women Self Help Groups (WSHGs) involved in nutrition-sensitive fish production systems in Gram Panchayat tanks, fish processing and market linkage.

WSHGs in the coastal fishing villages will also be trained for seeking business opportunities in solar-dried fish and fish powder following food safety standards of the FSSAI.

Development Commissioner Suresh Chandra Mohapatra said that such innovation will go a long way in accelerating nutrition status in the state.

He hoped that it will not only make best use of locally available fisheries resource but will also economically empower women in the long run.

Dr Gareth Johnstone, Director General of WorldFish, said that technical experts from WorldFish would support WSHGs in preparation of fish powder using hygienically solar fish driers on a pilot basis over next 6 months.

ICAR Central Institute of Fisheries Technology, Cochin, an India research partner of WorldFish will supply the low-cost poly-house solar fish driers for this programme.