In Odisha's Mayurbhanj, when tribal families lost jobs and access to the forests during the pandemic and the lockdowns, many of them faced hunger and poverty. Since May 2020, women farmers have been cultivating 'nutrition gardens' in their front and back yards, providing food and income security
Bhubaneswar: Mayurbhanj is Odisha's third most populous district that shares its boundary with Jharkhand and West Bengal. The district also has Odisha's highest tribal population; over 58% of the population belongs to the scheduled tribes (STs), as per the 2011 Census. In 2015-16, 43.5% children under five years of age in Mayurbhanj were short for their age (or stunted) and 43.8% underweight, according to the fourth National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4). This is higher than the state average of 34.1% stunted and 34.4% underweight children under the age of five.
"These children are susceptible to stunting and severe malnutrition. They also face the risk of diseases and poor growth," said Monika O. Nielsen, chief of field office, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), Odisha. The NFHS-4 report also showed that 45.6% of pregnant women in the 15-49 age group in the district were anaemic as against the state total of 47.6%.