‘Community Kitchen can address food security crisis in drought-affected areas’

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 12 May 2018 12:11:35


By Tara Chettur,

‘Community Kitchen’ concept can serve as a boon for the areas faced with severely food security and water crisis. During National Water Convention for Drought-free India with special focus on Bundelkhand which was held last year in the month of December, these measures including promotion of kitchen garden concepts in villages was proposed to the State Government, but none of them is implemented so far. Disclosing this, Dr Rajendra Singh, water conservationist, who has pioneered in community based efforts in entire country, says that in a state like Madhya Pradesh there is enough food and water resources availability only channelising of resources is required so that it reach the target audience properly.

In around 100 villages these community kitchen were started in Bundelkhand area a year back which brought substantial result. The venture was initiative of self help groups (SHGs), including Bundelkhand Water Forum. But later on this venture has to be shelved as there was no major support from district administration. Poor implementation of schemes and lack of water conservation plans are the main reasons for crop failure. Notably, community kitchen concept can also address problem of Anemia and malnutrition. This will also help in declaring the migration trend. A community kitchen can be considered as a farmer empowerment programme under which different kitchen needs to be build in different hamlets in the identified regions which face severe water crisis. The kitchens can provide one nutritious meal a day to children, pregnant and lactating women, mentally and physically challenged people, widows and senior citizens.

Massive crop failure in Kharif and Rabi season resulted in poverty and generated economic and food security crisis in many parts in the State. Around 30% population are facing food security crisis. PDS (Public Distribution System) is not functioning effectively to address this crisis. Bundelkhand Water Forum is a network of civil society organisations working for drought mitigation in have surveyed several villages using PRA (Participatory Rural Appraisal) tools and household survey. As per survey highest percentages of people who are facing food crisis are from Damoh district which is coming to 39.2 % and also from Chhatarpur which is coming into 38.1 %.

‘Community Kitchen’ is one of the concepts where food material will be supplied by the PDS (Public Distribution System) to the community and the people prepare their food jointly in a co-operative manner. The process to prepare food together and eat together will develop their bonding strong and also to tackle crisis together claims Dr Singh. Dr Rajendra Singh is a well-known water conservationist from Alwar district of Rajasthan. Also known as ‘Waterman of India’ he has won Ramon Magsaysay Award for community leadership in 2001 for his pioneering work in community-based efforts in water harvesting and water management.