Andhra Pradesh is the seventh largest state in India with almost 50 million people. According to National Family Health Survey of the government of India, almost one third of the pre-school children under the age of five in the state are stunted, 17% are wasted, and 32% are under-weight.
The state government has been implementing the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) programme where the national government and state governments work together to fund and supply nutritious food to children.
The deliveries to the beneficiaries are made at designated focal points called Anganwadi Centres (AWC), which consist of nursery schools located within close reach of the communities. AWC staff are comprised of community based voluntary frontline workers of the ICDS programme. The children, together with their parents, visit the centres to receive education, nutritional counselling, height and weight monitoring, health checkups, and specialized services.
In March 2020, a lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic was declared across India, making it an even bigger challenge to provide access to nutrition for the children due to travel restrictions.
The state government wanted to continue to provide safe nutrition to children despite the travel restrictions. As part of the food basket provided, UHT milk was introduced as an essential food item for the childrens’ nutrition as the technology ensures food safety and long shelf life which is essential when distributing food to areas with infrastructure challenges and a limited cold chain.
Working in collaboration with our customers, Andhra Pradesh Dairy (AP Dairy) and Karnataka Milk Federation (KMF), the state government implemented a plan to deliver the food directly to the childrens’ homes as Take Home Rations (THR). This plan encompassed a restructuring of the logistics to be able to transport the food to the doorsteps of 2.37 million households, instead of via the nursery schools.
The logistical chain developed resulted in the state government placing orders of UHT milk to our customers based on the list of beneficiaries and contact information maintained by the AWCs. The food items are tracked with barcodes so that the quantities received match the designated beneficiaries, and then they are subsequently delivered to the beneficiaries homes by AWC staff. The monthly home deliveries started in June and will continue until the AWCs are reopened to the children and families. UHT milk in Tetra Brik® Aseptic 200ml individual portion size are being used for nursery schools, while UHT milk in Tetra Brik® Aseptic 1000ml and Tetra Brik Aseptic 500ml are also being used for the home deliveries.
The children targeted in this programme are getting much-needed nutrition throughout the Covid-19 situation and they will continue to receive it after the pandemic. The milk sourced for the programme is also locally produced, thus providing access to market for the farmers.
“The success of this programme is a result of the great collaboration of our team with our customers KMF and AP Dairy. Working together, we continue to make food safe and available everywhere by delivering much need nutrition at the doorsteps of the families of Andhra Pradesh,” says Ashutosh Manohar, Managing Director – South Asia Markets.
This initiative demonstrates the vital role of food safety so that children continue to receive safe nutrition despite the challenges faced with the pandemic. We continue to work with our customers and collaborate with the authorities to ensure the availability and access to safe food.