The World Food Programme is looking to get its learnings on the fortified rice scheme launched in India to be replicated in other countries and has asked other country offices to undertake a stakeholder analysis.
In a case study, it has argued that pilots undertaken before the launch of the scheme generated the proof that a large-scale deployment was required. There were concerns that the fortification exercise undertaken in other countries could not be replicated in India.
“To address these concerns, WFP supported national and state governments with a unique pilot-to-scale approach, implementing four large-scale pilots in different parts of the country – three in the school lunch and one in the ICDS programme – in order to test implementation, demonstrate effectiveness and continuously improve programmes,” it said.
The WFP has argued that the test runs showed that the programme could be rolled out through existing social assistance distribution systems, such as the PDS that covers over 80 crore people, and supply chains. Besides, they suggested that costs could be lowered through economies of scale, and nutritional anaemia could be reduced, especially among school children.
The pilots were large — covering up to 10 lakh children — to demonstrate the effectiveness of scale, with Varanasi, PM Narendra Modi’s constituency, being one of them.
In 2021, PM Narendra Modi announced the inclusion of fortified rice in social assistance programmes.
This article has been republished from The Times of India