Bhubaneswar: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Tuesday said that the state government has decided to extend the Odisha Millet Mission which will benefit about five lakh farmers in the rainfall deficit areas especially the scheduled tribe dominated districts.
Talking to media persons after presiding over a high level review meeting at the State Secretariat here, Naveen said to provide remunerative price to the millets growing farmers and to improve nutritional security, the state government will procure millets and utilize in the government schemes.
He said the state government has launched a special programme for promotion of millets in tribal areas in 30 blocks covering seven districts of Odisha to revive millets in farms and plates with NCDS, Bhubaneswar and Watershed Support Services and Activities Network (WASSAN).
The major objective of the programme is to increase household consumption of millets by about 25% to enhance household nutrition security and to create demand for millets, set up millet processing enterprises at Panchayat and Block level to reduce drudgery of women, market millets through formation of millet FPOs and Women SHGs, improve productivity of millets crop systems and make them profitable, include millets in state nutrition programmes and public distribution system (PDS).
Under this Mission, during Kharif 2017-18, 7444 acres of millet cultivation achieved in seven districts of the state.
Under the extended Odisha Millet Mission, the programme will be expanded to another 25 blocks covering a total of 55 blocks in 11 districts. The government will spend Rs 126.65 crore to revive millet farming over a period of 5 years. Farmers will be incentivised for growing millet through direct benefit transfer.
Inclusion of Minor Millets in ICDS and MDM: Minor millets like little millet (Suan) and Foxtail Millet (Kangu) will be introduced in ICDS & MDM in a phased manner in 9 districts covering 26 lakh children. Millet meals will be served as Kitchdi and upma under the ICDS and MDM programme twice a week. Millets will be procured and supplied by Women SHGs and Farmer Producer Organisations to ICDS and MDM.
Sale outlets for millet based products will be established in 26 locations of Bhubaneswar Municipal areas to raise awareness regarding millets to be operated by NGOs from May 1 this year. Besides, it will be extended to other urban areas. Various millet products such as halwa, vada, Dosa, Pakoda, biscuits and cakes will be promoted through this exclusive urban awareness programme.
The Agriculture department will oversee crop planning process for production of millets required for the initiative. The state government will allocate Rs 30 crore for procurement of millets in the first year. This shall be slowly scaled up basing on the availability and feedback from the tribal community. The State government will allocate Rs 100 crore annually from fourth year onwards for procurement of millets.
Through this initiative, benefits of the scheme will be accrued to the tribal farmers by providing them a climate resilient crop which will reduce their risk while providing them as assured marketing mechanism. Given the high nutritional value of millets, this will also help in improving nutritional security of the children in these areas.
In order to create a robust urban demand for millets and promote urban consumption, millet products will be promoted at district and state level melas, OMFED stores and road shows in the urban areas of Odisha.