The Uttar Pradesh government has decided to start distribution of fortified rice all over the state in the next one year through Public Distribution System (PDS), to address anaemia and deficiency of micro-nutrients in women and children.
Commissioner, Food and Civil Supplies, Sorabh Babu, said: “Fortified rice is being distributed in Chandauli district and Sewapuri block of Varanasi district. In other districts of the state, fortified rice is being distributed in mid-day meals and ICDS (Integrated Child Development Scheme).
“Taking it to a larger population and to tackle malnutrition, the state government will start the distribution through Targeted PDS (TPDS) in 60 high burden and aspirational districts of the state,” he added.
The state government is preparing an action plan in this regard. By April 2023, it plans to cover the entire TPDS scheme and start distribution to 15 crore beneficiaries of the state.
The Centre’s scheme of distribution of rice fortified with three nutrients (iron, folate, and vitamin B12) has started in Chandauli district on a pilot basis and was launched by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on January 9, 2021.
Malnutrition and lack of essential nutrients in poor women and poor children pose major obstacles in their development.
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) defines fortification as “deliberately increasing the content of essential micronutrients in a food so as to improve the nutritional quality of food and to provide public health benefits with minimal risk to health”.
Rice fortification is a process of adding micronutrients to regular rice using extrusion technology. This involves the production of fortified rice kernels (FRK) from a mixture using an extruder machine. The fortified rice kernels are then blended with regular rice or non-fortified rice, typically at a ratio of 1:100 to produce fortified rice.
The benefits of fortified rice include reduction in anaemia, increased levels of haemoglobin, vitamin B12, zinc, and multiple micronutrients.