Raipur: Ready to eat and cook products rich in iron, zinc, omega-3 and other minerals may soon combat malnutrition. Developed by students of Indira Gandhi Krishi Vishwavidyalaya (IGKV) along with scientists of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Mumbai, from crops grown by the university, this food will soon be available in Chhattisgarh. 

To deal with malnutrition mainly in tribal-dominated Chhattisgarh and other districts, the students of IGKV along with scientists of BARC, Mumbai are engaged in extensive research work and have developed ready-to-eat-and-cook products, said the principal scientist of IGKV, Dr Deepak Sharma. Paddy, lentils and millet will be the major ingredients.

Ready to cook meat of protein-rich breed of black chicken ‘kadaknath’ will also be available in the market soon. The ready to cook meat of ‘kadaknath’ is going to have a shelf-life of around six months as it will be packed after being treated with a specific radiation technique. All the products will be treated with gamma radiation to ensure longer storage, Sharma added. 

“Four students of the university’s department of Agriculture Engineering and Food Processing including three MTech students and one PhD scholar are currently working with the scientists of BARC to develop ready to eat and cook products from varieties of paddy, lentils and millets developed by IGKV, which are rich in iron, zinc, omega and other minerals. 

The objective of the research is to make available nutritious food with prolonged shelf-life easily so that malnutrition can be dealt with efficiently. As of now, around 23 products have been developed during the research work ongoing for last one year,” said Dr Sharma.

Currently, four students are undertaking research work at BARC, Mumbai and soon two more students will go, said Dr Sharma, adding that this is a continuous process, and for this, IGKV has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the premier multi-disciplinary research centre of India.  

Availability of these ready to eat and cook products developed under this research is going to be possible in the next six months.

Dr Sharma further added that under this research work, students have developed ready to eat and cook Kheer, Khichdi, Poha and other dishes from specific varieties of paddy and little millets developed in the university. Moreover, a ‘Nutritive Bar’ carrying an adequate quantity of Omega-3 and anti-oxidants have been designed under this research work from IGKV’s R552 and RLC32 variety of flaxseed.   Works are underway to ascertain nutritive values of products developed during the calibrated research work following which these will be made available in markets, explained Dr Sharma, adding that efforts are also underway to include these products in the midday meal programme.