Nutrition boost to tribal welfare students’ diet

Drumstick leaf powder is an inexpensive supplement, says ITDA officer

The Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA), Bhadrachalam, is toying with the idea of introducing powder of the iron-rich drumstick (Moringa oleifera) leaf, a storehouse of nutrients, as an ingredient for culinary use in the tribal welfare hostels as a nutrition supplement.

The move is expected to benefit the students of around 168 tribal welfare hostels in the predominantly tribal populated district and serve as a vital intervention in tackling malnutrition particularly anaemia, which is prevalent among tribal girls.

ITDA project officer, Bhadrachalam, V. P. Gautham conceived the idea when he visited Surya Thanda, a tribal hamlet near Khammam, which earned a niche for itself in drumstick cultivation, last month. Accompanied by officials of the Horticulture Department and the Telangana Girijan Cooperative Corporation (TGCC), he visited Surya Thanda as suggested by Khammam District Collector R .V. Karnan, sources said.

He interacted with tribal farmers on the idea of procuring the drumstick leaves from them through the TGCC and preparing drumstick leaf powder in hygienic conditions for supplying the same to the tribal welfare hostels in the district.

Impressed by the enterprising activity of the drumstick growers of the tribal hamlet, Mr. Gautham exhorted them to strive to add value to their farm produce to reap rich dividends of drumstick cultivation.“We are working on an ambitious plan to procure drumstick leaves from tribal farmers, make powder from dried leaves so as to supply it to around 168 tribal welfare hostels,” said K. Vani, Manager, TGCC, Bhadrachalam.

Rich source

The powder derived from drumstick leaves is an excellent source of vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals especially iron that helps overcome anaemia, she said.

ITDA’s proposed initiative will prove beneficial for both the tribal farmers in augmenting their income and also the tribal students of the tribal welfare residential educational institutions in terms of inexpensive supplementary food.

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