Bengaluru, India – A new partnership between Nutrition International and The Akshaya Patra Foundation (TAPF) will help reach over 1.6 million children and 6,000 pregnant and lactating women in India with the essential micronutrients they need to be healthy and thriving.
This partnership was officialised in Bengaluru on May 18, as the two organizations signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
TAPF is an India-based non-profit organization running the one of the largest midday meal programmes. Through its centralised kitchens, it prepares food for millions of pregnant and lactating women and children covered under Government of India-supported nutrition programs, in schools and within communities.
As part of the MoU, Nutrition International will provide technical support to TAPF to fortify the wheat flour and the salt it uses in its meals with iron, folic acid and vitamin B12, and iodine and iron, respectively ― as per Government of India’s food safety standards. The fortification process aims to cover 30 percent of the required daily allowance of iron for women and children to prevent iron deficiency anaemia.
“For Nutrition International, this is a significant partnership. We aim to benefit a large number of women and children as well as beneficiaries of any other programs and states that TAPF decides to support in the future,” Sucharita Dutta, Country Director, Nutrition International, India.
Through their partnership, Nutrition International and TAPF collectively aim to:
- Develop a model for fortification of staple foods being prepared by TAPF kitchens in the country for meals served under Government of India’s midday meal programmes in schools for children and community-level nutrition schemes for women.
- Undertake joint advocacy with the Government for scaling up of staple food fortification to address micronutrient malnutrition in women and children.
- Generate evidence on the impact of fortified foods on the health and nutritional status of children.
- Develop innovative technologies to improve the nutritional status of women and children.
“The partnership between Nutrition International and Akshaya Patra is an extremely valuable one. By providing technical expertise to fortify wheat flour and double fortified salt to Akshaya Patra Foundation, who is serving wholesome food to over 1.6 million children across 12 states in India, Nutrition International will help ensure essential micronutrients reach these children”, Jennifer Daubeny, Consul General, Consulate General of Canada, Bengaluru.
“This partnership will set an excellent precedent in the field of fortification to combat malnutrition through midday meals. We will be able to take advantage of technology of encapsulating iron in the salt developed by Nutrition International to ensure minimum change in the organoleptic properties after fortification. This leads to better acceptance by consumers and greater health benefits for them”, said Shri Chanchalapathi Dasa, Vice Chairman, Akshaya Patra Foundation.
The MoU was signed at TAPF’s office in Bengaluru by Ms. Sucharita Dutta, Country Director, Nutrition International India and Shri Chanchalapathi Dasa, Vice Chairman, The Akshaya Patra Foundation, in the presence of Jennifer Daubeny, Consul General, Consulate General of Canada, Bengaluru.