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Odisha Launches Nutrition at Doorstep Programme: Distribution of Chicks to Combat Malnutrition and Anaemia

Bhubaneswar: In a significant step towards addressing malnutrition and anaemia, Ranendra Pratap Swain, Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Empowerment and Fisheries and Animal Resources Development, flagged off the distribution of chicks to over seven lakh families under the Nutrition at Doorstep Programme. The event, held at Krushi Bhawan, saw officials from all districts participating via video conferencing to distribute chicks to beneficiaries.

Minister Swain highlighted the extensive measures undertaken by the State Government to eradicate malnutrition and anaemia. Previous initiatives included the distribution of fruit and vegetable saplings, and now, the focus is on providing animal protein through the distribution of chicks. Families identified as vulnerable to malnutrition and anaemia have already received saplings of nutritious plants like drumstick, raw banana, papaya, and sweet potato. The addition of chicks is aimed at enhancing the nutritional intake of these families.

As part of this scheme, more than seven lakh identified families across the state will benefit, with each family receiving five 28-day-old chicks at no cost. The decision to provide 28-day-old chicks, as opposed to day-old chicks, is to mitigate the higher mortality rate associated with younger chicks. The Fisheries and Animal Resources Development Department will oversee the distribution to ensure the chicks grow successfully with minimal mortality.

Minister Swain emphasized the crucial role these backyard chickens would play in supplementing nutrition, contributing to increased egg production in the state. The scheme is expected to boost the state’s egg production by approximately 4.5 lakh eggs per day or 16 crore eggs per year. The government has allocated around Rs. 24 Crore in the current financial year to implement the programme, benefitting seven lakh families combating malnutrition and anaemia.

Minister Swain further mentioned that the chicks would be delivered directly to the beneficiaries’ doorsteps. During the virtual interaction, beneficiaries expressed gratitude to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Minister Swain for their innovative and beneficial initiatives. Minister Swain engaged with beneficiaries from 30 Gram Panchayats across 30 districts during the program.

Suresh Kumar Vashishth, Principal Secretary of the Fisheries and Animal Resources Development Department, highlighted that around seven lakh families in the state would receive protein supplementation through poultry rearing. The event also saw the presence of Ramashis Hazra, Director of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Services, along with other departmental officers. Dr. Satchidananda Sarangi, Addl. Director, Poultry Development, extended the vote of thanks.

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