CFTRI director Dr. Ram Rajesekharan advocates growing spirulina at home to fight malnutrition.

The Times of India reports that nearly 56% of India’s population is malnourished, according to the World Food Programme report. This statistic was quoted by Dr. Ram Rajasekharan, director of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research — Central Food Technological Research Institute (CSIR-CFTRI).

At a two-day national conference on “Malnutrition: Challenges, Success Stories and the Way Forward” organized by CFTRI, the department of women and child development, and JSW foundation, Dr. Rajashekaran urged people to grow spirulina to address protein and vitamin deficiencies.

Pointing out that there were many misconceptions about malnourishment, he said, “According to the Omega-3 Report, malnourishment is a common problem among the western population. You may add more calories in your daily diet, but in terms of requirement of particular requirements, one might remain undernourished. This deficiency is being passed down to the next generation. It cannot be solved in one go. We need to address the problem at our homes.”

Highlighting the benefits of growing spirulina at home, Dr. Rajasekharan added, “It’s a good alternative to get adequate proteins and vitamins. It can be grown at home, and used as a food supplement. Fish tanks can be used to grow algae.”

CSIR-CFTRI announced that they are ready to help people in cultivating spirulina, which they say is used extensively in the Middle East. “The Karnataka government has been trying to address the problem of malnutrition. The integrated child development services (ICDS) scheme is a wonderful program, and the government has been successful in reaching out to a large number of people. However, supplying iron tablets as food supplements is not very effective, since people develop nausea and vomiting, and this problem remains unaddressed,” he said.

Dr. Rajashekaran encouraged people to take matters of health into their own hands, and not expect the government or others to take responsibility for it.

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