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Millennium Post

Sweet interventions

Sweet interventions

Just when the nation struggles to bring down malnutrition, some innovation in the food sector can considerably save the day. Innovations of this kind, however, coming from university laboratories secondarily point to methods of addressing the crisis. Researchers at IIT Delhi are at work developing on a honey blockchain to check the problem of adulteration. The blockchain technology records transactions at every stage where honey changes hands — right from the honey collector to the aggregator who then sells it to the processor — to make sure there is a clear record of where the product has come from. The purpose here is to help increase transparency regarding the various stages that a batch of honey goes through. Additionally, this will also help track the origin of the product and check false claims. The project is part of an initiative where private firms fund research by students and staff at IIT. In funding relevant research and adding value to higher education, a very obvious take away is to include honey as a regular component in mid-day meals and to make it available as part of the facilities for the designated section of people. Given that India's quality and testing standards are generally not rigorous enough, this quality screening technology aims to take Indian honey more prominently to the UK and European Union markets (where they now come under the scanner for adulteration and presence of antibiotics). If contamination of honey can be checked, its nutritive value will give a major boost to the counter-malnourishment efforts the government is making. Proving that this is potentially a very good idea to uplift general health, Assam has made a mark in promoting good health and nutrition among expecting women and children in its southern districts with the very simple initiative of giving out gooseberry candies—with a twist! This is also a replacement for iron-folic acid tablets for pregnant women. As per the 2015 National Family Health Survey findings, 47.2 per cent women of reproductive age in Hailakandi were anaemic. This district has the most anaemic children below 5 years of age, adolescents, and women of reproductive age in Assam. Further, as per statistics, mothers, pregnant women, and children in the district consume just about 24.3 per cent of the total iron-folic acid tablets that the district receives and distributes. The consumption of this medicine is avoided by many as it causes constipation or nausea; there are also myths about these tablets being capable of killing people when consumed or making them incapable of conceiving. In this situation, the replacement of fortified amla candies is a very welcome and necessary change. The acceptable of amla candies in jaggery with a dose of salt meet the necessary nutritional requirement of people and also boost immunity levels. Given the gravity and the extent of malnutrition, rethinking methods to address the crisis is the need of the hour. Simple innovative solutions like honey and amla candy are familiar and acceptable to people bearing the brunt of malnutrition. For children, specially, this is a good idea.

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