In the COVID-19 pandemic, it is incredible to note the efforts put in by one and all to meet the essential requirements. Food, a basic necessity, managed to create the maximum panic as the lockdown was announced. Individuals started rushing to grocery stores, super markets and other such places to indulge in panic buying which to some extent led to the shortage of commonly consumed food items. On the brighter side, this Novel Coronavirus Pandemic, also taught us how to survive with limited commodities or prepare a decent meal out of whatever we have got in our kitchens. It is also ironical how this Novel virus brought entire nation on the same scale, with the affluent class struggling to procure the exotic ingredients and the poor struggling to get one meal a day.
When we talk about Food and Nutrition security, as a nation we have been able to become food secure with our surplus food production which is also allowing us to provide additional grains during this time of crisis but we are far away from becoming nutritionally secure. Our dietary intake in both Urban and Rural area is inadequate in terms of the recommended intake of food groups suggested by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
In other words, our diets are not well-balanced. Further, in majority of safety net schemes the focus is mostly on providing cereal based diet or whole grains thus lacking in diet diversity with minimal use of food groups like millets, pulses, vegetable and dairy. This pandemic provides us with another opportunity to reflect on what are we actually feeding our citizens and why we always put emphasis on supplying wheat and rice to solve food and nutrition related problems.
These grains might meet the calorie requirement but they are incapable to meet our nutritional requirements. Good nutrition is crucial for health, particularly in present times like these, when the immune system might need to fight back.