The human resource development (HRD) ministry recently asked all rural and urban schools to encourage setting up of kitchen gardens at schools.
The human resource development (HRD) ministry recently asked all rural and urban schools to encourage setting up of kitchen gardens at schools. The ministry further added that the gardens should be managed by students along with teachers and additional staff. Department of agriculture or horticulture, regional Krishi Vigyan Kendras, agriculture universities, food and nutrition boards, and the forest department will provide assistance to schools in the provision of saplings, seeds, organic manure, and technical assistance.
The effort of having kitchen gardens in school backyards was lauded earlier by authorities at all levels since it has several positive outcomes. A garden can help students to understand principles of ecology and life cycle of food crops, along with providing an opportunity to students to work cooperatively on real tasks. Although, centre has issued this directive recently, schools in Karnataka have been practicing it for some time now. A report published by MHRD under mid-day meal programme says, “School nutrition gardens can make a direct and improvement in children’s diet. They can provide fruit and vegetables, rich in vitamins and minerals, and add nutritional value to mid-day meals.”
The Global Hunger Index 2019 report published earlier this month, measured hunger in 117 countries. It provided data based on four indicators namely underweight and undernourished children, mortality rate of children, and stunted children less than five years. The report states that India ranks 102nd out of 117 qualifying countries. With a score of 30.3, India suffers from serious level of hunger. In this context, initiatives like this can help in tackling the problems of hunger and malnutrition among school children effectively.