Monday, 30th October 2017

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Stunted? Look at all the food!

Conrad eyes business in malnourished state

By Andrew w. Lyngdoh in Shillong
  • Published 4.12.19, 2:40 AM
  • Updated 4.12.19, 2:40 AM
  • a min read
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A poster at Polo Ground in Shillong, venue of the Northeast Food Show The Telegraph Picture

A state with a high prevalence of stunted children, a sign of chronic malnutrition, will host a mega food show for three days from Wednesday.

Billed as Northeast’s first and biggest food innovation exhibition, The Northeast Food Show 2019 will be hosted by Meghalaya in collaboration with the SIAL Group.

SIAL Group is the world’s largest food innovation network with over 50 years of experience.

The food show will focus on creating a global platform to “inspire food business” for this part of the country. The event will see representation from all the northeastern states, with their governments showcasing unique products, as well as national and international exhibitors, natural-herbal-organic producers, processing companies and will feature experience zones, Northeast Kitchen, conferences, chief minister’s conclave, chef wars and other activities.

Chief minister Conrad K. Sangma, who inspected the venue, said around 300 delegates from different countries and sectors will participate in the event, along with farmers, chefs, entrepreneurs and technology providers.

Conrad said the event would completely change the way people see the food processing industry in the Northeast and open up avenues for entrepreneurs.

“I think it is going to be a very exciting show,” he added.

But there is hardly anything to celebrate when one looks at the high percentage of stunting among children from birth to four years, according to the Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey 2016-2018.

The survey states that in Meghalaya, 40.4 per cent of children from birth to four years suffer from stunting, while the national average is around 35 per cent.

In fact, Meghalaya is just below Bihar (42 per cent) when it comes to the percentage of prevalence of stunting among children in the 0-4 age group.

Stunting or low height-for-age is a sign of chronic under-nutrition that reflects failure to receive adequate nutrition over a long period and is also affected by recurrent and chronic illness. Children are defined as stunted if their height-for-age is more than two standard deviations below the WHO Child Growth Standards median.

Recently, the chairman of the Meghalaya Farmers’ Commission, K.N. Kumar, pointed out that child malnutrition was a concern in the state, especially in the rural areas.

He had said that 44 per cent of children in Meghalaya under the age of five years are stunted, while 29 per cent of them are underweight.