Malnutrition is a severe social and health problem afflicting large numbers of women and children in India. Around 46 percent of children under the age of three are malnourished. Though the Indian government has had launched anti-malnutrition programs, the problem persists, partly because of their ineffective implementation.
We cannot rely on the government for remedying all the ills. If social entrepreneurs have the will the combat this problem, they certainly can. The prevailing corporate greed prevents entrepreneurs from offering even basic food items like vegetables, fruits, bread, butter and juice at an affordable cost to the poor. If they conquer their greed by the logic of profit, viz., capitalizing on the strength of “the bottom of the pyramid” and the huge middle class, businesses can certainly make huge profits while benefitting the poor segments of the society.
Corporations worldwide have realized that profitable markets do exist in poor or financially constrained regions as well. For example, Wizzard, a South African company, has been earning profits by providing mobile banking to poor Africans who lack access to banks but possess mobile phones. KickStart’s MoneyMaker Pumps have enabled farmers in East Africa to draw water easily, obviating the need for traveling long distances. There are innumerable areas of social entrepreneurism such as healthcare, education, energy, and food and nutrition.
Given the scale of consumers in India, low-priced nutritious biscuits, bread and fresh juice can be easily sold in large numbers, especially in the wake of changing dietary habits.
What is needed is corporate willingess and prudence.