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Uttar Pradesh: To improve nutrition in school children, government may add Sunahri Kand to meal schemes’ menu

Three-day Sunahri Kand Mahotsav to be held in Gorakhpur at end of month.

Officials in the horticulture department suggested that Sunahri Kand was expected to be introduced in the mid-day meal scheme in the next school session. (Express Photo)

To support the production of horticultural items under the “One District One Product (ODOP)” scheme and provide better nutrition to school children, the Uttar Pradesh government may introduce Sunahri Kand, also known as orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, in the hot-cooked food scheme of Anganwadis and the mid-day meal scheme in primary schools.

In a statement issued on Tuesday night, the government announced it would organise a three-day Sunahri Kand Mahotsav in Gorakhpur at the end of February. The vegetable is loaded with Vitamin A, fibres, potassium, protein, beta carotene and chlorogenic acid. The announcement comes days after the Deoria district administration said it was all set to introduce mushrooms in mid-day meals to address the problem of malnourishment in school children.

“The Uttar Pradesh government is all set to organise a three-day Mahotsav on Sunahri Kand in Gorakhpur in the third week of February. In fact, the government has received a proposal to include Sunahri Kand in the hot-cooked scheme of Anganwadis and the mid-day meal scheme of primary schools so that it helps fight the deficiency of Vitamin A and malnutrition in children,” the government said in a statement.

The administration said Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath intends to organise the Mahotsav in Gorakhpur on the lines of the strawberry festival of Jhansi. The government said the event would not only spread awareness about the benefits of this variety of sweet potato but will also be a big achievement for farmers cultivating it. The event is expected to be held between February 19 and 21, subject to Adityanath’s availability. Officials in the horticulture department suggested that Sunahri Kand was expected to be introduced in the mid-day meal scheme in the next school session.

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Additional Chief Secretary, Horticulture, Manoj Kumar Singh told The Indian Express on Wednesday that the state government was planning to promote at least one produce from each district under the Horticulture ODOP scheme. He said the aim of the Gorakhpur event was to give farmers cultivating the sweet potato fair price for their produce. Introducing them in the meal schemes would ensure a permanent market for the cultivators, he added.

Singh said that during the Mahotsav, delicacies prepared with the vegetable would be served as starters, the main course, and desserts in about 40 major hotels and restaurants in the district.

He claimed that the sweet potato, enriched with antioxidants, would promote skin health and reduce cancer risk. It can be consumed as a vegetable or used to make fritters, cutlets, pickles, and desserts. The Sunahri Kand gets its orange colour from the high levels of carotenoids, which are converted to Vitamin A by the human body. The antioxidants present in it help strengthen eyesight, reduce ageing, and boost immunity, Singh claimed.

First published on: 04-02-2021 at 12:45:18 am
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