Recently, a Gujarat government official showed interest in introducing the candy in mid-day meal scheme of the state schools, Navsari Agriculture University (NAU) scientist B L Kolambe said.
"Costing less than a rupee, the candy made out of banana plant has medicinal value. It is made out of central core (stem) of the plant's pseudostem," Kolambe said.
"The candy is rich in fiber, iron and vitamin B, and suitable to meet the nutritive requirements in anemic (having less than normal quantity of hemoglobin in blood) children," Kolambe said.
"During tests conducted at Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI), Mysore, the candy was found safe for human consumption, and all the fiber in it was revealed to be digestable fibre," he claimed.
When contacted, Gujarat government spokesperson Saurabh Patel said that it is a positive development to deal with malnutrition problem and we will have a look over it.
As per National Family Health Survey (NFHS)-III, 49.2 percent of the state's children were stunted. It was realized that malnutrition among women, adolescent girls and children was the underlying cause of death due to common ailments. Thus, state government has given top priority to malnutrition, says Gujarat's Socio-Economic Review 2012-13 report.
During 2011-12, on an average 41.40 lakh children of standard I to VIII were provided hot cooked meal per day in 33,396 schools through 29,977 MDM (mid-day meal) centers. The number of children went up to 43.17 lakh by September 2012, a state report said.
NAU has standardized the technology to convert the waste of banana plant into various useful products, including this edible candy with nutritional values.
"Presently, in one batch we make just 12 kg of candy, but once the technology is licensed for commercialization, the production can always be scaled up," Kolambe said.


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