Jaipur Kitchen Garden to support mid-day Meal program

Monsanto partners with Akshaya Patra, to strengthen nutritional support for the Government’s Mid-day Meal program in Jaipur. This partnership has established farming infrastructure to provide nutritional vegetables to more than 150,000 students in 1,400 government schools.

Partner

Akshaya Patra Foundation manages the largest NGO managed mid day meal programme in the world. The Akshaya Patra Foundation came into being in the year 2000 to address two of the most immediate challenges of India - hunger and education by providing unlimited food to attract children to schools. Akshaya Patra offers unlimited, nutrition-rich food everyday to 1.4 million underserved school children in about 10,000 government schools in 23 locations, across 10 states of India. 

Geography

Jaipur Rajasthan

Tenure

 
June 2009- May 2014Project Objective

  • The clearly defined scope of the partnership is to provide for food & nutrition security of the children through regular supply of nutritional vegetables like carrot, cabbage, Spinach, capsicum etc, all rich sources of vitamins, fiber, minerals etc; which are not readily available in the local markets; and be a fall-back option during lean periods.
  • Get farmers empowered and knowledgeable on  cultivation practices like green houses, pest management and provide an increased source of income for them.
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Project Interventions

  • 15 acres of land has been taken on lease from local farmers and vegetable cultivation infrastructure across was set up, enabling cultivation of vegetables like carrot, beetroot, brinjal, okra- all rich sources of vitamins, fibers, minerals etc. An additional 9 acre of land has been added in the 4th year taking the spread of the garden up to 24 acres.
  • A greenhouse has been setup for production of quality seedlings in a short time. The Greenhouses have helped in cultivating vegetables like Broccoli, Capsicum, Strawberry, Red Cabbage.
  • The kitchen garden has been equipped with solar dehydrating plants for drying & stocking the vegetables for off season periods. Dehydrated radish and cabbage is used in summer when availability of vegetables is less and comes in at a high price. This has not only ensured year round supply of fresh vegetables but also showed cost savings of around 11% on the vegetable budget.
  • The project team engaged in training of 500 farmers in modern farming techniques & exposure visits of 3,000 school children to kitchen gardens helping them understand the nutrient value of different vegetables.

 

Impact and Outcomes

  • Production of vegetables: There has been steady increase in production of nutritious vegetables per year and currently around 30-35% of vegetables requirement of the Mid Day meal programme (total veg requirement around 6 lakh kgs annually) is fulfilled.  The solar dehydration plant has proven to be very cost effective as it has been extensively used to optimize spends on vegetables – hence when the prices of vegetables are low in the market the Kitchen garden team stocks the vegetables and dries them for use in non seasonal period enabling a year round availability of vegetables for children’s mid day meals.
  • Knowledgeable farmers - Around 500 farmers provided exposure and training of growing nutritious vegetables.
    • Most of the farmers in the vicinity are using the techniques like greenhouses, sprinkler irrigation etc. that they have been exposed to. On an average, every farmer is earning 15% extra income than he used to earn earlier.  The farmers have shifted from cultivating millets which used to have low returns to vegetables, which has helped them progress economically.
    • Around 8000 school children visited the garden for learning and exposure