Kiran says value added products have a market and are a source of income and nutrition

Kiran says value added products have a market and are a source of income and nutrition

By Rashika Kumar
Saturday 28/10/2023
Assistant Minister for Women Children and Social Protection Sashi Kiran

Assistant Minister for Women Children and Social Protection Sashi Kiran has highlighted that there is a great market for value added products such as dried fruits and crops that provides rural women and youth a source of income and is also a source of nutrition.

While speaking during World Food Day and the National Agriculture Show Kiran says we have high rates of anaemia among our population, in especially children where according to the National Nutrition Survey, 80 percent of our children are said to be anaemic and 50 percent of our pre-school children are anaemic.

The former FRIEND Fiji CEO says she was involved in developing nutrition packages for malnourished children in partnership with the Nadi Subdivision Medical Office.

She says the Nadi medical team was very surprised to see a turnaround in children’s health in a couple of months and all they had added was healthy food into their diet including roasted lentils as cereal and sweetened dried fruits.

The Assistant Minister says they have also taken the program to Ba and a few other areas.

Kiran says there is a market for dried lentils and dhal that we import but roasting this acts as cereals and dried fruits like mangoes need no preservatives.

She says in the last couple of decades they have trialed with many fruits including bananas and plantains by just adding lemon juice and sun drying it.

Kiran says some of these dried fruits is not only a healthy snack but also provide income.

She further says they have been working with women on these, especially with those in rural and maritime areas where transportation becomes an issue.

Kiran says a woman from Ba who dried herbs and was selling from the Ba Market and had marketed it on social media was contacted by a Fijian store overseas and now exports all her dried products.

Kiran says they are hoping there will be continuous opportunities and support from the Ministry of Agriculture in terms of resources and they look forward to further collaboration between the two ministries as well as the Ministry of Youth and Sports and other NGOs to ensure more technical assistance is provided to women and youth.

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