Envisioning a Nutritionally and Economically Thriving India - Andhra Pradesh Leads the Way
Developing a resilient food system with improved health, progressive economy, and regenerative environment, starting from West Godavari.
Improving Nutrition Status and Economy of Andhra Pradesh
A Government of India initiative as a part of National Nutrition Mission (Poshan Abhiyan) to improve the health index of the Country.
Lead Applicant Organization Name
Lead Applicant Organization Type
Large NGO (over 50 employees)
If part of a multi-stakeholder entity (i.e. team), provide the names of other organizations and types of stakeholders collaborating with you.
PATH will form purpose-driven, interdisciplinary partnerships (health, nutrition, agriculture, technologies) with the government and private sector to advance this ambitious agenda. Government organizations include the following: 1) National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), Hyderabad, which conducts research in nutrition and diet. 2) Acharya N G Ranga Agricultural University, a State university, which is working towards developing and improving technologies to increase agricultural output for the welfare of farmers and making it available through collaboration with allied government departments. 3) PATH will continue to work with the Government of India (GOI) and Government of Andhra Pradesh as a technical expert on nutrition and innovation. 4) We will also collaborate with the industry, especially who can help scale up production and distribution of fortified rice and indigenous nutritious foods to provide it in the open market and the government food distribution schemes.
Website of Legally Registered Entity
How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?
Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?
Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?
Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?
Andhra Pradesh, starting from West Godavari District. Except Anantapur, Chittoor, Guntur and Kadapa Districts. Area <100,000 square km
What country is your selected Place located in?
Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.
PATH will implement the program in the West Godavari district, in Andhra Pradesh (AP). West Godavari has a high burden of stunting (28.5%), wasting (14.7%), and anemia (55%) due to poor nutrition. The district also faces a challenge of over-nutrition and a high burden of obesity and metabolic syndrome where 40% of men and women are obese .National data shows that 0.4 million people in West Godavari live below poverty line .
Rice is the staple diet. AP primarily cultivates rice (12 million ton) and West Godavari contributes to a large share (1.7 million ton). It serves as a source of income for a huge section of the population.
Rice provides calories but not micronutrients like iron, folic acid, vitamin B 12 etc. which are important for children and adults to be healthy. Fortified rice is the ideal vehicle to bridge essential nutrient gap and improve nutrition status of the people. Rice fortification is an evidence-based intervention which involves adding micronutrients to broken rice resulting in fortified rice kernel (premix) which is blended with normal rice to improve its nutritional value . PATH, a global leader in rice fortification (Ultra Rice®) for two decades, is working on technology advancement, evidence generation, building supplier base and markets .
The state has adopted various innovations proposed by the Government of India (GoI) to bring people out of poverty, such as self-help groups (SHGs) by women to generate livelihood for well-being of people. The state has more than 0.7 million active SHGs indicating their enthusiasm to adopt innovative methods . Currently, PATH is a technical partner to the GoI and various state governments for rice fortification scale up through safety net . AP plans to make fortified rice available for the vulnerable population (people below poverty line) in West Godavari. PATH is also providing technical support to millers in West Godavari. Therefore, it is an appropriate place to implement the initiative.
Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.
Look and feel of the people and place in Rural Andhra Pradesh (Representational Images)
Culture of Andhra Pradesh
Contribution of Agriculture and Allied Sectors to the Economy of West Godavari
Economy of West Godavari
West Godavari District in Andhra Pradesh indicated by the boundary in red.
Andhra Pradesh (AP) is the fifth largest state in India accounting for 9% and 8% of the area and population respectively. The state has a 972 km coastal line along its eastern border. Rice is the main food crop cultivated throughout the state providing food for its growing population, fodder to the cattle, and employment to people. Rice is irrigated using canals (52%), tube wells (19.3%), tanks (16.2%), wells (8.8%), and other sources (3.7%). Sugarcane is the second major crop after rice. Both contribute to nearly 95% of the total cropped area. Crops including maize, groundnut, and pulses are also grown in the state. Annual rainfall varies from 800 to 1100 mm. Telugu is the local language.
West Godavari is one of the 13 districts in the state. It is bound by Krishna district on the west, East Godavari District on the east, Bay of Bengal on the south, and Telangana state on the north. The district has an area of 7,742 sq. km and a population of 3.9 million. It has a population density of 509 / sq. km and the fourth most densely populated district in the state. West Godavari has a sex ratio of 1004 female for every 1000 males. It has the highest literacy rate in the state (74.6%). Nearly 80% of district’s population lives in rural areas.
The district has a tropical climate where summers (March–June) are extremely hot and dry and the winters are pleasant. Monsoon (July–December) is often the best time for tourists. People rely on agriculture for livelihood which contributes to 40% of the GDP and use conventional farming methods for rice cultivation. Rice is considered as an auspicious grain and is used for many traditional preparations .
Since rice is the staple food, consumption of rice with low or minimal consumption of other nutritious foods like millets, milk, pulses, fruits, vegetables, and meat leads to micronutrient malnutrition and obesity. Cereal occupies 100% of the recommended dietary intake (RDI) for an average household consumption, whereas fruits, vegetables, and pulses occupy less than 50% of the RDI . Obesity is also a challenge as 40% of men and 37% women even in rural areas are obese . This is due to the lack of a diversified diet and lack of awareness about “what and how much to eat” in the community. Strategically ensuring availability of fortified rice, facilitating behavior change to include indigenous diet and promulgating the “Eat Right” and “Healthy India” movement of the GoI are a step in the right direction.
As India is an agrarian economy, farmers around the country and in West Godavari are keen for interventions which improve agricultural practices, help them prosper economically, and provide nutritious food to their families. Such steps will encourage the people of West Godavari to aspire for brighter future for their children through availability of better nutrition and improved health outcomes. This will also make the farming an aspirational livelihood option which the current farmer is concerned about.
What is the approximate size of your Place, in square kilometers? (New question, not required)
What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?
Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.
The challenge of the existing and future food system in AP and West Godavari is multilayered. However, the primary challenge is the improper diet consumed by the people, which may provide calories but not the required nutrition. The implications are serious and long-term.
Diet: People of West Godavari suffer from the burden of under-nutrition, over-nutrition, and micronutrient malnutrition. Much of this can be attributed to a micronutrient deficient diet due to lack of or minimal consumption of foods rich in vitamins and minerals, such as fruits, vegetables, meat, and eggs. Obesity is high even in rural population due to consumption of high calorie refined foods. Many times, rather than access, lack of awareness about “what and how much to eat” plays a bigger role in determining the food people eat which is true for West Godavari as well. The household consumption survey further validates that the spending in non-nutritious food is higher than nutritious food .
Culture: Farming which is the cultural identity of the people is fast depleting as the current generation is more inclined towards service sector jobs. There is a shift in consumption of native, traditional, indigenous nutritious foods like millets and rice-millet based foods to modern convenience foods which are loaded with sugar and empty calories where market forces are playing major role, requiring attention.
Economics: West Godavari district has middle and small hoarding farmers. Though it has balanced sex ratio, gender inequality in terms of share of labor workforce is high. In West Godavari, 0.4 million people live in poverty which makes nutritious food unaffordable for them. Livelihood generation is a challenge.
Environment: Rice cultivation is highly dependent on ground water tables and rain as over 5000 liters of water is required to produce one kg rice. With drought and depleting groundwater, farmers are cautious to continue rice cultivation. Moreover, the state is one of the highest users of fertilizers and pesticides in the country, which leads to poor soil quality .
Technology: One of the challenges is to implement a technology that can reduce consumption of water and fertilizers for rice cultivation. Educating the farmers about the negative outcomes of the existing conventional practices on the environment and enabling them to move towards modern techniques is also a challenge.
Broken rice is the by-product when paddy is converted to rice. More than 5% and at times 15% - 20% of produce formed during paddy milling is broken rice. It impacts the quality of rice and sold at a very low price of ~ 0.3 USD / kg for animal feed or other rice-based preparations. Implementing a suitable technology that can enhance value of broken rice and profit to millers is a challenge.
Policy: Sub-optimal policies exist to make food system resilient. The need of the hour is adequate policies for ensuring availability of nutritious foods and its proper implementation by the stakeholders.
Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.
Our vision is to make Andhra Pradesh (AP) free of malnutrition and economically secure starting with West Godavari district. It will be driven by the strategy to introduce technology to manufacture fortified staple foods at scale (starting with rice), improve farming practices, build capacity of stakeholders across the value chain, create markets for cost-effective nutritious products, create demand through compelling communication on indigenous and traditional diversified diets, and generate awareness on exercise and well-being. We will also advocate for a policy shift to improve uptake of nutritious foods. This vision is a step towards making the food system resilient and sustainable .
Addressing the challenges through PATH’s vision
PATH will work with various stakeholders across the rice value chain to institutionalize the production and consumption of fortified rice through the government safety net program and open market. PATH will work at every stage of the supply chain to provide the required technical assistance . We will collaboration with the potential producers of fortified rice kernels (FRK); government representatives at the state and district level; food safety officers; manufacturers of blending machines; rice millers; and stakeholders involved in production, procurement, and distribution of fortified rice. PATH will transfer the technology to women SHGs. Given the high literacy rate and a balanced gender ratio, PATH will enable women SHGs and other small industry holders to produce fortified rice by helping them procure the machinery through loans from banks or through micro-finance, thereby improving their livelihood . PATH will work with the Rice Millers Association for making fortified rice available in the open market. We will work in collaboration with research organizations, like National Institute of Nutrition to develop technologies to produce instant fortified rice and similar products with longer shelf life which can be used during natural disaster. PATH will work with the State Agricultural University to explore technologies like drip irrigation for rice cultivation to improve productivity and reduce usage of water and fertilizer . Using a human-centric approach, PATH will support the government in generating awareness across all stakeholders about the importance of fortified foods, consuming locally available foods as a part of their diet and adopting healthy lifestyle practices for good health. This will help create a market for other fortified staples and nutritious products. PATH will evaluate the effectiveness of the program to identify champions and best practices which will be promulgated within the country and globally. It will work towards creating working models which are easily adapted by other rice eating populations / countries.
High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.
It is 2050 and Andhra Pradesh ranks 1st in Global Nutrition Index. The state is malnutrition free and affordable nutritious foods are available for all. The economy is thriving, and no one lives below the poverty line. The children are thriving; and adolescent girls, pregnant women, and lactating women are in the best of health.
As a result of compelling behavior change campaigns, people are aware and have embraced healthy eating and lifestyle practices. All the staples in the region are fortified, which provides adequate calories and the necessary vitamins and minerals.
The SHGs for women and small holder farmers produce fortified rice and nutritious and healthy food products, providing them with a flourishing livelihood option. The groups support their community with their income and actively engage in other social activities to improve the communities’ health and well-being .
The farmers do not use chemical fertilizers and the industry now produces organic fertilizers. The shift from inorganic to organic fertilizers has boosted the industry economically and aligned it to the global goals related to climate change and global warming by reducing the emission of carbon dioxide. Proper waste disposal system is in place and the agricultural and other waste is used by the fertilizer industry to produce organic manures, ensuring a zero-waste policy. Implementation of technologies like micro irrigation and drip irrigation has led in efficient use of water, also leading to increase in the ground water level. Overall, the quality of the soil has improved which has enhanced the agricultural output.
The policies by the government give farmer the much-needed priority and respect in the society, making it an inspirational livelihood. The income of farmer has improved making it a viable option for people. The second generation and third generation of the farmers are found to be farmers with scientific knowledge of farming practices.
Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?
Developing the livelihood for Women through Self Help Groups
Andhra Pradesh with good health, economy and environment - Starting from West Godavari
PATH - Fortifying the Future through Fortified Rice
India is the second largest producer (112.9 million ton) and consumer of rice in the world. Andhra Pradesh is the fifth largest producer of rice in India accounting to 12 million ton, with West Godavari producing 1.7 million ton. PATH intends to enhance the uptake of fortified rice as a catalyst to strengthen food systems to make AP malnutrition free and economically sustainable.
Rice is an important part of the culture of people of Andhra Pradesh. Fortified rice has been accepted along with other locally grown nutritious foods. Since the fortified rice resembles and tastes like locally grown rice, it has become a part of the people’s lifestyle. The benefit of low cost indigenous grown foods which people had forgotten has fully revived and their increased uptake is benefitting the population both economically and nutritionally.
Technology & Economics
Introduction of fortified rice in AP has opened new avenues in terms of market expansion. Trade and manufacturing sector have benefited due to the mainstream production of FRK and other nutritious products. Manufacturers of extruder, dryers, blenders, and other necessary equipment required for rice fortification are also thriving due to a policy in place for “easy and convenient” loans. With technology advancement, the machineries required for the production of nutritious food products are available at half the current price. The purchasing power of the people has improved with the presence of cost-effective products in the market. The industry is providing jobs to a large section of the local population. One kilogram of broken rice sold at US$ 0.3 / kg is sold at US$ 1 / kg as FRK will increase proportionately in 2050, increasing the income of the millers significantly.
The technology for making FRK has been transferred to various local industry players to effectively meet the demand of the state. The local industry is also providing FRK to other states and exporting it.
More people are joining the small-scale industries and the gender ratio in the workforce has improved because the technology to manufacture fortified rice and other nutritious products is available with small industries and women SHGs. There is around 80% increase in the number of SHGs compared to the initial 0.7 million active SHGs in the state. With improved income, women have become a part of the mainstream economy. This has also played a role in empowering women in the community as leaders and decision makers.
The market for traditional foods continues to grow not only within the state but in other parts of the country and nutritious foods are exported as well.
People can access nutritious food in vulnerable situation, such as droughts and floods, due to uninterrupted supply and availability of low-cost instant fortified rice and other foods, which has longer shelf life.
As a result of improved income, children are receiving good quality education, the next generation is using better technology and farming practices and also ensuring that middlemen are eliminated from the system. The burden on the health system has reduced as a result of improved health outcomes.
The patterns of food consumption have completely transformed. There is a clear attitudinal shift among the entire population who now seek food which is nutrients dense. As the intervention has improved the economy, people have higher income and improved purchasing power. Reinforcing key messages on “what and how much to eat” has helped the people to take wise decisions about their diet and consume food appropriately.
PATH’s collaboration with the Government of India’s “Eat Right” and “Healthy India” campaign has shifted the focus from tackling hunger to improving the quality of diet for better health. This has helped create a market for other fortified staples and low-cost nutritious products which are abundantly available for all in urban and rural areas. School children understand the importance of nutritious food and actively disseminate messages on healthy diets and lifestyle practices in the community. Data for AP shows improved academic achievements and nutrition indicators. The “high fat, low salt, and sugar foods” cannot be advertised in the state as per policy and the prevalence of obesity and diabetes has reduced from 44% to less than 5% and from 24% to 3% respectively.
By 2050, 80 million people in Andhra Pradesh and 4 million people in West Godavari are consuming fortified rice.
Moreover, research and evidence generated over the years has reaffirmed people’s belief in the power of consuming fortified food, leading an active life, and consuming a diversified diet. The approach to food has moved from addressing hunger to overall well-being. The consumption of high protein and nutritious foods like pulses, meat, fish, vegetables and fruits has also increased and people are eating a more balanced meal.
Technologies to improve irrigation, waste management, and use of fertilizers have led to a string of positive changes. Drip irrigation has enabled farmers to use water and fertilizers optimally for rice cultivation. A shift to organic fertilizers has regenerated and nurtured the soil, increased the production, as well as improved the quality of output leading to better health and income. These steps have generated more jobs in the agricultural and the industrial sector at the same time. PATH’s collaboration with Acharya N G Ranga Agricultural University to develop innovative irrigation systems and farming technologies have resulted in an evidence-backed knowledge base from 30 years of work to effectively scale up regenerative and resilient agriculture practices.
Social safety net programs of the government have been discontinued in the state as it is nutritionally secured. Various departments of the government have collaborated to form a holistic policy on the well-being of people. There is a policy shift from food security to food safety and personalized nutrition. They advocate for a “Nutritionally Thriving” India. People in AP are economically secured and are able to either produce or buy nutritious foods from the market. AP is supporting other states and countries and is a living example of a healthy and economically secure state. The state is positioned as a successful case study of using fortified staples and traditional indigenous foods to build a healthy nation where nutritious products are available to the last mile at affordable prices. PATH continues to provide technical support to the government and other stake holders on other emerging areas of food and nutrition.
As an important partner, PATH is leading several efforts and bringing relevant members on board to provide the required support to other states in India and other countries to scale this program.
With the operationalization of zero waste policy of farm produce, organic manures are easily available at a low cost, which has resulted in a clean healthy soil and a regenerative environment.
Conducive policies and financial mechanisms for easy loans for farmers and small-scale producers have helped improve their economic status in the society. Agricultural practices are now backed with scientific evidence and methods which increase output, improve the environment, and provide high income to everyone involved in the process. Farmers understand that only through regenerative, sustainable stewardship of their land and resources they can create a growing, inclusive movement for multiple generations.
Therefore, transforming food systems through technology advancements starting with rice fortification, building capacities, improving farming and dietary practices, generating evidence, and creating markets for indigenous foods and cost effective nutritious products and build champions across the value chain holds the potential of significant impact beyond nutrition and into the broader areas of economic development, integration of agriculture and nutrition, and promotion of rice value chains in settings around the world where rice and other traditional crops are deeply woven into the local culture and economy.
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