USSEC India Partners to Promote Soy in Government Feeding Programs
USSEC India recently worked with the feeding and social welfare program of the government of the Maharashtra province to promote soy utilization in its programs. In addition to partnering with the national and international branches of the Lions Club, it also involved the Govardhan Mahila Bal Vikash (GMBV – woman and child welfare organization), a government contractor which exclusively works on eradication of malnutrition through using soy-based formulations.
GMBV has been using soy to prepare protein supplements for this province with the technical support of USSEC. The organization also used the results to submit reports recommending soy be included as a protein enhancer in feeding programs on a national level. Convinced by soy’s impact to tackle malnutrition, the Lions Club International, a welfare organization with social responsibilities, decided to help the Indian government and the feeding program contractors to meet the additional costs involved in soy-based formulations. This program was attended by 95 participants, including authorities from the Lions Club’s national and the international branches, government officers and government feeding program contractors.
USSEC Director – India Food Program Dr. Ratan Sharma addressed the gathering, emphasising malnutrition in India and the Asian Subcontinent (ASC) in general, and discussed soy-based formulations in welfare programs and the role soy can play in tackling malnutrition.
Partnering with the Lions Club International is important for USSEC because the organization has a global mandate to eliminate malnutrition that will propose to implement soy-based formulations to 210 malnourished countries in the world, including the entire ASC region.
India has the second highest number of undernourished people in the world with about 225 million who are chronically undernourished. The prevalence of underweight children is highest in the world. Food and nutrition security has been a major developmental objective in the country since Indian independence, but despite high economic growth, the country has so far failed to improve its food and nutrition security. The Indian government runs the world’s largest feeding and social welfare program, covering 250 million beneficiaries by providing full meal and supplementary nutrition.
Dr. Ratan further stated that soy is the major nutritional ingredient for these programs but is limited in use due to in lack of sufficient fund allocations. Involvement of organizations such as the Lions Club to offset additional costs will significantly boost soy utilization in these programs. USSEC India is working in this direction to help utilize soy produced in the country as well as working towards creating a future opportunity for U.S Soy.