NIFTEM Collaborates with GAIN, Nidan, and Jeevika for THR production in Bihar

National Institute of Food technology Entrepreneurship and Management (NIFTEM), Kundli is working closely with Global Alliance of Improved Nutrition (GAIN), Nidan, and Bihar Rural Livelihood Promotion Society (Jeevika) in Bihar to optimize Take Home Ration (THR) for ICDS beneficiaries in five decentralized production units in three districts namely Bodhgaya, Khagaria, and Muzaffarpur. The collaboration focuses on standardisation and upgradation of THR to ensure consistency in terms of sensory attributes, nutritive value and quality across all units. NIFTEM is also conducting pre-assessment of the existing machinery of all the units for the production of THR as well as utilizing the same processing lines for producing value added products for various age groups (ready to use supplementary foods) and for commercial purpose.

Dr. Komal Chauhan, Dean, Research and Outreach, NIFTEM, Kundli and Principle Investigator of the project along with representatives from GAIN (Mr.Javits Jeyaraj Rajendran, Asia Project Coordinator) and NIDAN (Mr. Rakesh, Mr. Deepak and Ms. Bharti) visited the units in Muzaffarpur and Bodhgaya. Dr. Chauhan also met Mr. Himanshu Sharma, CEO cum State Mission Director of Jeevika, to get the plants operational and facilitate linkages with Women and Child Development, Bihar to facilitate the distribution of THR to all ICDS beneficiaries across all the three districts. She emphasized the importance of micronutrient fortified THR for improving the nutritional status of children, adolescent girls, pregnant and lactating women. Further to strengthen the setup, the tie ups or linkages have to be established with Food Corporation India (FCI) for supply of staples like wheat, rice to these units at subsidized government rates. The discussion also centred on establishing similar units with support of GAIN and Nidan to expand THR distribution across Bihar. This will improve access to nutritious THR to vulnerable sections of the society in Bihar, thereby improving their nutritional status. The discussion also involved Linking Nutrition-Sensitive Social Protection & Community-based Women’s Enterprise for improved livelihoods in the state. NIFTEM along with GAIN also conducted meeting with a social protection research partner to strengthen Self-Help Groups (SHGs), encourage sustainable business practices, and support their efforts towards nutritional empowerment

Dr. Chauhan also mentioned that Field level Investigators would be appointed in three districts to conduct preassessment of these units and market assessment for consumer acceptability of value added products. NIFTEM’s partnership and hand holding with Jeevika not only creates work force in large scale food fortification, but also enhances their skills besides improving their livelihoods.

Dr. Harinder Oberoi, Director, NIFTEM, emphasized the importance of integrating advanced food processing technologies and providing continuous guidance to ensure the project’s success. He said that it important that we facilitate in developing safe, nutritious, palatable and healthy food products in addition to THR to improve nutritional outcomes and livelihood in Bihar. He further emphasized that NIFTEM students can work as interns and can be placed in JEEVIKA and contribute to this noble cause.

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