In Talwara govt schools, mission Moringa to help fight malnutrition!
THE MENACE of malnutrition among children and women has plagued the country for several decades and despite several programmes to root it out, the situation remains grave.
A recent report on malnutrition released by Washington-based International Food Policy Research Institute (IIFPRI) also pointed at this, with India ranked at 100th position among 119 countries on the Global Hunger Index (GHI) 2017. The report added that more than 20 percent of children aged below five years have low weight and 33 percent are too short as per their age.
A cooperative and marketing society, Unati, is doing its bit to fight malnutrition among children by planting Moringa saplings, often referred to as ‘miracle tree’, in government schools of Talwara area under Hoshiarpur district, with the help of the Punjab forest
department. “We have supplied over 15,000 Moringa saplings to Unati,” said Atul Mahajan, divisional forest officer, Dasuya. “Under our free tree supply scheme, we will supply 80,000 free saplings in our division. He pointed out that the tree had “many common names, such as Sohanana, Sohanjana, and Sunana,” said Mahajan. Rainwater is sufficient for the tree to grow. “All its parts, including roots, bark, leaves, flowers, fruits, seeds etc. are useful. Its leaves are like a power bank of nutrients and known to have seven times the vitamin C of oranges, four times the vitamin A of carrots, four times the calcium of milk, three times the potassium of a banana and two times the protein of yogurt,” claimed Jyoti Saroop, head of Unati.
“They are planting at least 10 trees in each school of operational area,” said Amarjit Singh Bajwa, a government school teacher from Talwara, adding that children were being made aware that the leaves of the tree can be consumed raw or in the form of chutney or
“We will achieve the target of planting one lakh Moringa saplings on the premises of over 100 schools, which are adopted by the society for ‘Swachh Bharat mission’ too, and on barren land in villages by the year-end. The Punjab forest department has been supporting us in a big way,” said Saroop. Unati produces Amla and other products.
“We chose government schools where children from economically weak backgrounds study and this ‘superfood’ can help them to fight malnutrition,” added Saroop. “We have made a proposal to plant Moringa saplings in every school,” he said. “Even major supermarkets are selling the leaves of the tree these days and we are also taking Moringa a tool of income generation in Kandi areas by purchasing fresh Moringa leaves from people for use in developing healthy products,” said Saroop. Unnati was planning to plant around 5 lakh trees annually, he added.