Locally-grown fruits and vegetables can improve diets of rural women in India

Malnutrition, including micronutrient deficiency, is especially acute among women in India. In Maharashtra, the country’s second most populous state, about 50% of women are chronically energy deficient and over 75% of non-pregnant and non-lactating women are anemic. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables is associated with reduced risk of micronutrient deficiencies and non-communicable diseases, yet there have been few studies of fruit and vegetable consumption in low and middle-income countries.

Locally-grown produce may hold the key to improving diets and the nutritional status of rural women, but it is increasingly being eliminated from diets in many rural settings. This could be due to urbanization and the proximity of villages to cities, increasing contact with people from other places, misconceptions about the safety of these foods, and a lack of knowledge about how to prepare them.

Photo Credit: Neil Palmer/CIAT