Keonjhar: Keonjhar district marked the first anniversary of the inclusion of Ragi Laddus for pre-school children under Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) on Friday.
Under the unique initiative, two Ragi Laddus per week are provided as morning snack to pre-school children (between 3 to 6 years) to improve their nutritional status, official sources said.
Notably, Ragi has over 30 times more calcium and four times more iron than polished rice. It also has more fibre, minerals and antioxidants
It also aimed to revive the age-old tradition of millet consumption, which was once prevalent among the tribal communities of Keonjhar, the sources added.
Due to the COVID restrictions at present, pre-cooked Ragi Laddu mix is provided via home delivery for pre-school children. The laddus are prepared at home by mothers and served to the children.
The initiative was launched on a pilot basis at 335 anganwadi centres in Keonjhar’s Sadar block on July 2, 2020. Then it was extended to 3,257 anganwadi centres across the district from September 1, 2020.
The initiative has also helped in providing an additional source of income to women self-help groups, an assured price to Ragi farmers as well as boosted local production of the crop and other millets, sources said.