A UK university aims to help the poor in India; Here’s how | Daily News Byte


A new research project has been launched to study how poor communities in India can have better access to nutrient-dense food in a climate-friendly manner. The initiative will seek to support Indian policy makers with evidence that will help inform transformative policy measures to deliver nutritious food to the poor.

Researchers from the Institute of Sustainable Food and Department of Geography at the University of Sheffield will lead a research consortium in a new five-year infusion project – ‘Indian Food Systems for Improved Nutrition’ – to develop and test innovative ideas focused on leveraging food markets. To improve access of the poor in India to nutritious foods such as fruits and vegetables and milk, meat and eggs.

INFUSION Principal Investigator Professor Bhavani Shankar said: “Foods rich in important vitamins and minerals, such as many fruits and vegetables and milk, meat and eggs, are important for human nutrition.

“However, making them available and affordable to the poor presents major challenges, including high perishability in tropical regions like India.

“Small and primary local markets are the main source of this food for the rural poor. Our project will study these markets, how poor consumers interact with them and how the chains from production to consumption work. Working with a range of stakeholders, the initiative will then examine how government action can best support food markets to deliver these important foods in climate-friendly ways to increase nutrition.”

Climate change issues are also central to the project, and INFUSION will aim to study interventions that not only improve nutrition, but also promote resilience to a changing climate while having a low environmental footprint.

Project co-investigator Dr. Gregory Cooper noted: “Markets for nutrient-dense foods are increasingly facing a perfect storm of climate stressors, including more frequent extreme weather events, as well as decadal-scale changes in precipitation and temperature averages. .

“At Infusion, we will examine how rural markets can be built and made relatively robust to the multiple risks of climate change, using innovative renewable energy cold storage solutions. Such interventions will help reduce food loss and spoilage rates, making rural markets more attractive to producers and consumers of nutrient-dense foods.”

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