The Millennium Alliance (MA) is an inclusive platform to leverage Indian creativity, expertise, and resources to identify and scale innovative solutions being developed and tested in India to address development challenges that will benefit base of the pyramid populations across India.
Under FICCI’s leadership and in partnership with United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Technology Development Board (TDB), and other MA partners, the Alliance provides innovators with services such as seed funding, grants, incubation and accelerator services, networking opportunities, business support services, knowledge exchange, and technical assistance, and will facilitate access to equity, debt, and other capital.
The Millennium Alliance Award was felicitated to Deepak Foundation in the Round 4, for proposing an innovative solution to provide opportunity for income generation, drudgery reduction, and tackling malnutrition in two tribal blocks namely, Kawant and Naswadi of Chhota Udepur district in Gujarat, India.
This will be by development of an Instant Meal Mix (Ready to Cook) for the tribal women by using their locally grown commodities.
Depending on agriculture alone as a sustainable livelihood option is difficult for marginal tribal farmers. Costly agriculture inputs and dearth of transport, storage and processing facility leads them into vicious cycle of poverty, drudgery, and poor nourishment. Moreover, tribal women’s engagement into agriculture is unpaid labour, without land rights and scope of engaging into business enterprise. Thus, there is a need for their collective engagement into business model to improve livelihood and food security. Deepak Foundation is implementing Mahila Kisan Sashaktikaran Pariyojana covering 6000 tribal women farmers in Kawant and Naswadi blocks of Chhota Udepur district of Gujarat. After training those women in sustainable agriculture techniques 300 women’s Farmers Producer Groups formed under this project have been collectivized into two Farmer Producer Companies.
The Foundation aims to create value addition systems through food processing for the women, reducing drudgery and ensuring food security. The innovation is a business model of FPG operated processing units to prepare a culturally acceptable ready to cook pre-mix “khichdi” using locally grown pulses, rice and solar dried vegetable enriched with fortified oil, spices and mineral mix as a nutritious meal supplement. University nutrition and food technology departments will be roped in for product development, nutritive value assessment and shelf life assessment etc. Finance will be facilitated for purchase of processing unit infrastructure. Livelihood opportunity for more than 5000 women farmers will be created within a period of two years. Pre-mix khichdi will help overcome under-nutrition in entire family and will reduce drudgery and save fuel. Locally grown vegetables which otherwise spoil in absence of market, will be put to good use. The pre-mix could also be procured by the Govt. to supply as mid-day meals in school and pre-school and PDS shops.