According to a report annually about 45,000 children die of Malnutrition in Maharashtra alone. With an objective to provide a solution to the problem, we started a dialog with the Woman and Child Ministry to find out a cost effective nutritious meal program. In view of the limited budget which the state had to combat such a wide spread malady, what was required was a simple and cost effective solution. The requirement was for a nutrient dense, cheap food which should also have a shelf life of at least 3 months.
Our trials and experiments with helpful inputs from nutritionists and doctors lead us to conclude that a Jaggery-Groundnut Chikki will be just right. The Chikki was easy to make, not very costly, had a shelf life of 3 – 4 months and above all Children would love the taste.
In the year 2011 we approached and convinced the Ministry of Woman & Child Development about the suitability of Chikki to fight malnutrition in the state.
The state under the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS)*identified as beneficiaries the children in all Aaganwadis Centers (AWCs)** all over the state. With one lakh AWCs averaging around 25 children per aaganwadi we were looking at impacting 25 lakh lives. Add to it pregnant and lactating women who were also covered under this scheme we were looking at a huge number of beneficiaries.
Approximate manufacturing capacity required for this venture was 15 tons of Chikki per day and the biggest manufacturer in the country manufactured not more than 2 tons per day. Hence we took it upon ourselves to set up state of art fully automated Chikki manufacturing unit. Today we are probably the largest manufacturer / supplier of Chikkis in India. So far we have provided the state over 15000 Metric Tons of Chikki over the past 4 years and are now looking at providing Chikki in BMC schools and Zilla Parishad schools.