In Odisha, India about 45% of children under five are stunted or chronically malnourished and 41% are underweight. About 19.5% of children are acutely malnourished. This malnourishment is due to a scarcity of micronutrients, or to a hidden hunger. Small indigenous fish, such as the fish locally known as mola, can be rich in these missing micronutrients and can be an effective weapon against malnutrition and hunger among the poor communities in the region. The promotion of mola production and consumption can significantly contribute to reduce malnutrition in Odisha. This project aims to increase the production of mola in local waters, especially in priority districts, and make it easily available and affordable to local people.

Through this partnership with the Government of Odisha in India, WorldFish provides support to increase the productivity of aquaculture through improvements in seed, technology and farming systems. A long-term goal is to foster a sustainable aquaculture sector in which the private sector will be more willing to invest. The partnership will focus on improving the value chain for aquaculture products to improve nutrition security in Odisha. Further, the partnership aims to improve the planning and management of natural resources for sustainable aquaculture and fisheries.

The overall objective of the project is to provide technical support to Fisheries and Animal Resources Development Department (F&ARD) in its implementation of the Odisha State Fisheries Policy 2015 and to achieve a sustainable aquaculture and fisheries sector in Odisha. The project aims to create employment, stimulate inward investment and contribute to reducing malnutrition among vulnerable and marginalized communities, particularly women and children.