Nepal | July 11, 2020

‘Low soil zinc causing stunted growth’

Sabitri Dhakal
Share Now:

The finding of the research is an eye-opener. We must conduct dynamic research

Kathmandu, July 27

A recent research conducted by an international team of agriculture scientists revealed that zinc deficiency in Tarai soil was causing stunting in Nepali children.

A research carried out by American scientists Leah Bevis, Kichan Kim and David Guerena on ‘Soils and South Asian Stunting: Low soil zinc availability drives child stunting in Nepal,’ reveals that soil in western Tarai is has lowest zinc content.

The researchers claimed that crops harvested in such soil did not have zinc necessary for growth of Nepali children.

The research was based on over 10,000 soil samples collected from across Nepal’s Tarai region.

“The finding of the research is an eye-opener for us. We must conduct a dynamic research,” said Ram Krishna Shrestha, senior agriculture extension officer at the Department of Agriculture.

Manoj Thakur, senior scientist at Nepal Agricultural Research Council, Khumaltar, said Zinc deficiency was found mainly in Saptari, Sunsari, Siraha and some other areas of Tarai.

According to him, earlier, there was abundant zinc in the crops as farmers used manure as fertiliser. This trend is now decreasing as farmers are using more chemical fertilisers in their fields. “Deficiency of zinc can be addressed in two ways, first by using zinc sulphate in the nursery beds and secondly, by using it in the fields after planting crops,” he said.

He also said farmers could remove zinc deficiency by planting leguminous plants such as peas, beans, lentils, soy, and peanuts at least once a year. Green compost of these plants can also be used.

The government has been providing fortified foods in six districts of Karnali and Solukhumbu district of Province 1.

But as deficiency has been seen in other areas, fortified foods must be provided there too. Zinc tablets are also given to children when they suffer from diarrhoea, said Bhim Singh Tinkari, director, Family Welfare Division.

Spokesperson of Ministry of Health and Population Mahendra Shrestha said the ministry did not have sufficient budget this year to fortify food.

According to Nutritionist Uma Koirala, zinc helps in absorption of minerals such as calcium and protein.

Zinc helps in enzymatic reactions, immune functions, protein synthesis and wound healing.

Zinc also helps in growth of bones and muscles. Zinc deficiency can also cause diarrhoea, pneumonia, and infectious diseases.

The government has targeted reduction of rate of stunting from 36 per cent to 24 per cent by 2025 and to 14 per cent by 2030. Multi-sector Nutrition Plan has also been implemented to minimise the adverse effects on human capital and social and economic development by reducing chronic malnutrition.

According to Nepal Demographic Health Survey 2016, 36 per cent children in Nepal are stunted and 12 per cent are severely stunted.

Stunting increases with age, peaking at 45 per cent among children aged 24-35 months. In Karnali Province, 55 per cent children are stunted.

Children are defined as stunted if their height-forage is more than two standard deviations below the WHO Child Growth Standards median.


A version of this article appears in print on July 28, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.


Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

Tarai districts at risk of floods after heavy rainfall in hilly region

RAUTAHAT: Tarai districts are at a high risk of floods as water level has risen alarmingly after incessant rainfall in hilly and Chure region in recent days. Locals residing on the banks of Bagmati and Lalbakiya rivers in Rautahat and Sarlahi districts have been living in terror of floods as Read More...

Putting the brakes on COVID-19: Safeguarding the health and rights of women and girls

KATHMANDU: The COVID-19 pandemic has sickened 16,649 people and left 35 dead in Nepal as of July 10. But the full toll of this catastrophe has been incalculably greater. The health system has been overwhelmed and the economy has been greatly impacted. Women and girls have been disproportionately af Read More...

NHRC chief draws flak for condemning Mohna Ansari

KATHMANDU, JULY 10 National Human Rights Commission Chairman Anup Raj Sharma has drawn flak for issuing a press release condemning NHRC member Mohna Ansari for criticising Samajwadi Party-Nepal’s decision to expel Sarita Giri from both the party and the House of Representatives. Sharma h Read More...

Commission on the investigation of Enforced Disappeared Persons

Conflict victims lament govt’s apathy in their joint submission

KATHMANDU, JULY 10 Various victim groups of Nepal have made a joint submission to the 37th Session of the Working Group on Universal Periodic Review of the United Nations Human Rights Council, drawing its attention to the Government of Nepal’s persistent failure to deliver truth, justice, repar Read More...

Gaindakot, Nawalparasi

East-West Highway obstructed as flood sweeps diversion in Nawalpur

KATHMANDU: The East-West Highway has been obstructed since a diversion was washed away by a flash flood at Gaindakot section in Nawalparasi (East) district. It has been learnt that the vehicular movement along the highway came to halt after the flooded rivulet in Thumsi swept away the culvert o Read More...

Nepal Communist Party (NCP) standing committee meet put off for a week

KATHMANDU, JULY 10 The ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) has postponed its Standing Committee meeting for a week. NCP Spokesperson Narayan Kaji Shrestha wrote on his Twitter handle that the party took the decision to postpone its Standing Committee meeting to enable the party’s rank and fil Read More...

‘Regulate particular content, media, not entire industry’

KATHMANDU, JULY 10 Freedom Forum, a civil society organisation, issued a press release condemning cable operators’ decision to halt broadcast of Indian news channels, except Doordarshan, over misleading and defamatory content about Nepal. Freedom Forum said service providers and media carrie Read More...

Jada and Will Smith reveal marriage trouble on Facebook show

LOS ANGELES: With their marriage under social-media scrutiny, Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith reaffirmed their commitment to each other as Pinkett Smith admitted to having a relationship with musician August Alsina when she and Smith were separated. In a one-on-one conversation Friday on Pinke Read More...