01 : Diversification of Agriculture on Food, Nutrition and Health Security

Vijaya khader

Faculty of Home Science ,Former Dean, Acharya N.G.Ranga Agricultural University, Rajendranagar,Hyderabad-500030,India


Intervention of various viable technologies to improve the food & nutritional status of the population proved the following facts: Promotion of malt based small scale food provides opportunity for rural women to develop entrepreneurship and employment. It also provides food and nutritional security through additional income. Several technologies like value addition to fish & prawn products, artificial pearl culture, processing of salted fish were developed under National Agricultural Technological Project which helped the self help group women of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu to improve their economic status. Received two patents for fabricating I) Low Cost Ice Cream Freezer ( to prepare ice cream with small quantity of milk in rural area )  and II) Fresh Fish Vending and Display Table  (which helped the fisher  women to reduce their drudgery and also preserve the fresh fish for a longer time without getting spoiled ) The technology was  licensed twice. Food Product development can be taken as an income generating activity in the rural areas by the illiterate women which can be included in supplementary feeding programs mainly to improve the nutritional status of the children .The horse gram which is commonly used for cattle feed can be diversified for human consumption with less investment. Mothers as well as Anganwadi workers preferred amylase rich supplementary foods preferred as these supplementary foods better as compared to earlier supplied food i.e. ready to eat food. Introducing red palm oil is beneficial to overcome vitamin A deficiency. The supplementary income of women has a positive impact on the nutritional status of the family.


Technology Intervention, Nutrition Security, Health Security and  Economic Empowerment.


Food processing   has huge potential to improve rural livelihoods by raising farm income through value addition in agricultural produce. Rural employment opportunities should be increased by promoting post harvest opportunities and value addition, entrepreneurship at the village level and this will increase the net income of the farmers. The promotion of agriculture, small scale rural industry, the rural economy gets a big boost and also corrects the rural- urban imbalance and prevents migration.




Surveys, Chemical analysis, Biochemical estimations, Product development, value addition, bio-availability studies on rats as well as human subjects; clinical observations were used as per the study design. 



Research carried by Vijaya khader on impact of diversification of agriculture on food, nutrition and health security is discussed under Diversification of Agriculture; Horticulture; Mushrooms; Fisheries; Value addition and Economic Empowerment of Women 


A) Crop diversification / cropping systems:

 Intercropping of ragi and red gram in 8:2 ratio  gave additional income of Rs.5, 500/- ha compared to single crop of ragi. Ground nut intercropped with either red gram or castor in 7:1 ration recorded maximum .Red gram based cropping systems with cluster bean in 1:7 ratio gave highest. Among different alternate crops tried to groundnut during late rabi, black gram  recorded maximum net returns (Rs.26801 /ha) and followed by sesasum (Rs.20697 /ha). Cluster bean and field bean are excellent alternative crops for rain fed crops.


B) Horticulture intervention:

This focused on increasing the supply of micronutrient rich crops through the promotion of home gardening or Nutrition garden . Horticulture intervention will involve the Ministry of Agriculture for the supply of seeds, extension sercices, and storage support. Vitamin A and Iron Nutritional status of nutritionally vulnerable segments of population subsisting on Horticulture crops and dairy farming in East Godavari district of A.P.( Aruna,1997) showed very significant improvement in their nutritional status. Significant impact of Nutrition Garden / Home garden reflected on Iron & Vitamin status of the families under study.


Operational feasibility of Red Palm Oil (RPO) :  Vitamin A deficiency causes many health problems especially among children. A study was undertaken to screen the effect of supplementation of RPO obtained from the fruits of tree Leis guineensis Jac.The oil is rich in B-carotene, a precursor of Vitamin A .Supplementation of crude RPO to Anganwadi Children increased the attendance of children, increase in heights and weights of children was observed. Decrease in Grade 1V and Grade 111 malnutrition was also observed in boys as well as girls (Vijayakhader and Aruna, 2008) .


C) Mushroom cultivation : 

Every woman is an entrepreneur as she manages, organizes and assures responsibility for running her house.  It has been increasingly realized that women possess entrepreneurial talent which can be harnessed to create employment opportunities. In the rural areas a woman can easily manage 4-10 beds depending on the space available, helping them to earn Rs.180 to Rs.450 per month. The results revealed that  spawn multiplication can be done by women as a co-operative venture and mushroom cultivation can be undertaken at household level as an income-generating activity(Vijaya Khader, 1994)  .


D) Studies on Intervention of Fisheries :

To elicit the information on the food consumption of preschool children population of 2203 (1072♂:1131♀) were selected in the 28 coastal villages of 13 districts spread over 4 states viz. Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu with a total of 5744 Households. A detail information on the food consumed, frequency and amount purchased were noted and the total amounts of each food consumed for a period of one month was noted. This was divided by per Consumption unit  (C.U.) to get the food consumption / C.U. / day.24 hour recall method combined with one day weighment was employed to assess the nutritional status of preschool children (1-5years). The purpose of diet survey was explained thoroughly. i.e., food items served in plate before eating. The cooked ingredients were measured through cups and were then converted to raw ingredients.


Fisher women in Coastal Eco-System of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. (Vijaya Khader, R.Sathiadas and H.Mohamad Kasim , 2005) reveal fish eaters in the study area comprise 47 per cent of the total population ranging from 23.7 per cent in Tamil Nadu to 85 per cent in Kerala.  Though the position of Tamil Nadu  is high in terms of number of coastal districts and possession of coast line including the number of landing centers, the number of fish eaters in the state is minimal.  Andhra Pradesh employs 32 per cent of its fisherwomen in fish curing/drying/net making and 27 per cent in processing plant works.


Two Equipments namely I) Low Cost Ice Cream Freezer ,II) Fresh Fish Vending and Display Table have been fabricated and received Patents and the technology was licensed to  a woman entrepreneur for manufacturing these two equipments for a period of two years(Vijaya Khader,et.al. 2004) .  After expiry of two years the technology on low cost ice cream freezer was licensed second time to other women for a period of 6 years. These equipments were fabricated mainly to improve the Health & Nutrition Security.


Nutritional status of preschool children in coastal fishing villages of South India Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu:

The consumption of vegetables, fruits was found to be low, milk consumption was fairly low among the preschool children & fish consumption was found to be 34 gm/ CU. The intake of nutrients in case of preschool children was found to be less than the RDA. It was observed that macro nutrient intake was fairly better when compared to the micro nutrient intake .31 % of preschool children were anemic. The other clinical symptoms like angular stomatitis, chelosis & dryness of skin  were 35 % on an average .The reason for high anemic might be due to low consumption of iron rich foods, poor health ,hygiene & sanitation and also might be due to lack of nutritional awareness (Vijayakhader, et.al, 2005)


Success Stories

The National Agricultural Technology Project entitled Studies on Fisherwomen in coastal ecosystem of    Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamilnadu and Kerala explored the socio-economic status of fisherwomen and found the families wherein women are actively involved in one or other occupation has flourished and achieved all round development.  Seven Fisherwomen (3 from Kerala ;2 from Karnataka and 2 from A.P) have attained the Training and Awareness from National Agricultural Technology Project, implemented in their places and enhanced their socio-economic status through various skill oriented training programmes and continuous day-to-day discussions with the Scientists. 


E) Value addition

1) Low cost energy protein rich preparations using Horse gram

The horse gram which is commonly used for cattle feed can be diversified for human consumption with less investment. Processed horse gram flour was prepared using Puffing and Roasting, Processed Soya bean flour was prepared by Dehulling and Roasting.  The low cost energy protein rich products namely RAGINA and EPRF were prepared using the simple home scale processing methods like germination, roasting and puffing, to improve the nutritional status. Horse gram has been identified as potential food resource for the tropics and also occupies an important place among pulses because of its ability to resist severe drought conditions.  Soya bean (Glycine max) is one of the best vegetable proteins and has tremendous potential to meet the protein deficiency in the cereal based Indian Diets at a low cost. Product development can be taken as income generating activity in the rural areas by the illiterate women.  Products can be included in supplementary feeding programs in order to improve the nutritional status of the vulnerable groups of the population (Vijayakhader & P. Ashlesh, 1998)


2) Effect of feeding malted food on the nutritional status of vulnerable groups(Vijayakhader & Umamaheswari, 2012)

Amylase Rich Malted Mixes (ARMM) two types were formulated using Ragi / Wheat and suitable products namely Laddu, Roti, Kheer, and Porridge were prepared using formulated malted mix.  The ARMM’s found to be nutritional dense.  For the supplementation of malted mixes 8 villages of Lepakshi Mandal, Ananthapur District was selected.  Preschool children (400), pregnant women (100) and Lactating women (100) were selected and fed with two types of malted mixes (Ragi / Wheat) for a period of 3 months. Anthropometric data, Food intake showed a significant increase in the preschoolers, pregnant women and Lactating mothers.  Clinical assessment showed considerable reduction i.e. (50%) in nutritional deficiency symptoms and morbidity rate of all the subjects. Training programmes were conducted to 40 members by lecture and method demonstrations using developed education material such as Posters, Flip book, Manual and CD-Rom.  After the training 60-70% improvement was observed in Knowledge, Attitude and Practices scores of the trainees, project profile for bulk production was also developed.  Supplementation of ARMM’s helped to improve the nutritional status of the vulnerable groups of population in rural areas especially with regard to protein, energy, iron, and calcium and B-complex vitamins. Promotion of malt based small scale food industry not only provides opportunity for rural women to develop entrepreneurship and employment but also provided Food and Nutritional Security through income generation. 



3) Therapeutic food supplementation in ICDS projects of Andhra Pradesh (Yasoda Devi & Vijayakhader, 2004)

Total 2267 children of age range of 1-3 years were selected (892 children from rural ICDS project, Saravakota; 507 children from new ICDS project, Kottem; and 778 children from tribal ICDS project, Seethapeta) for a period of 1 year.  The three types of supplements were prepared and distributed by A.P. Foods, Hyderabad.  The supplements were distributed either in the form of Laddu or as in the form of powder.  Nutritive value of 100g of supplements provides 400 to 480 Kcal 12.5 to 13.8 g proteins.It was very encouraging to note that 92% of grade III children showed improvement in their weight and height; 80% of moderately malnourished; 42% of mildly malnourished and 44% with normal grade showed improvement.  It was also observed that there was positive correlation between the calorie and protein intake and also improvement in weight and height.  All 100% of mothers as well as Anganwadi workers preferred these supplementary foods better as compared to earlier supplied food i.e. ready to eat food.


F) Economic Empowerment Of women:Family income and nutritional status of pre-scholars’ in rural areas of Tenali division (Vijayakhader & Kavitha, 1993)

The increase in the annual per capita income of the family increased slightly the nutritional status of pre-scholars .The results also reveal that no significant difference was observed between the body weight of children and income of the parents in all the age group. In spite of having high purchasing power, lower educational status of the mothers and also low nutritional awareness, majority of the children are in Grade 1 degree malnutrition.


Impact of women’s supplementary income on families’ nutritional status (Vijaya Khader, 1999)

The study was carried in 4 villages of Rajendarnagar Mandal & Ranga Reddy District on vegetable vendera, Shop Keepers, Washers, Fruit venders, Tea & Snack Venders. The results reveal that the supplementary income of women has a positive impact on food & nutrient intake of the family.



The impact of intervention of various viable technologies improved the food & Nutrient intake of the family contributing towards Food & Nutrition security.



Sincere thanks to World Bank, ICAR, NATP, ICMR, DBT and ANGRAU for their financial support.


  • Aruna, A. 1997. Significant Impact of Nu8trition Garden /Home Garden reflected on Iron & Vitamin status of the rural families.  PhD Thesis )
  • Vijaya Khader, R. Sathiadhas and H. Mohammad Kasim .2005.Role of Women in Fisheries in Coastal Eco-System of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu; J. Res .ANGRAU 33 (1) pp. 53-59 
  • Vijaya Khader, R.N. Kumar, J.Lakshmi, K.DhanapalH.M.Kasim,R.Sathiadas and   N. S. Sudhaka.2004 .Studies on Fisher Women in the Coastal Eco System   of  Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala  and Tamil Nadu ,World Fish centre, Global Symposium on Gender and Fisheries Seventh Asian Fisheries forum,P.No.69-79, Penang, Malaysia
  • Vijayakhader & P.Ashlesh.1998. Home based low cost energy protein rich preparations using Horse gram (Dolichos Biflorus) for vulnerable groups  Indian Oil Palm Journal, Vol.VIII, No.46, pp.13-17
  • Vijayakhader & K.Umamaheswari .2012. to study the effect of feeding malted food on the nutritional status of vulnerable groups: accepted for publication in the International Journal for Biotechnology and Molecular Biology Research.Vol.4(4) pp.35-36
  • Vijaya Khader .1994. Rural Women as Entrepreneurs in Mushroom Cultivation, Indian Farming, March,pp. 18-21
  • Vijayakhader and Kavitha .1993 .Anthropometric measurements of pre-school children in the rural areas of Tenali division.  Asian Journal of Psychology and Education. Vol.26 No.1-2, PP.35-40.
  • Vijaya Khader .1999. Impact of Women’s supplementary incomes as families’ Nutritional status.  The Indian Journal Social Work, vol. 60 (3)  pp.368-378.
  • Vijayakhader and K. Aruna .2008 .Operational feasibility of RPO supplementation to pre-school children in Anganwadi centers of ICDs Project, Natural Product Radiance, and Vol.7 (4) pp 310-313.
  • Yasoda Devi P. & Vijayakhader.2004 .Therapeutic food supplementation in ICDS    projects of Andhra Pradesh  ,Every man’s science Vol.39 (3)  pp.160-167