New Delhi/Bhubaneswar: The millet narrative in the state has caught the attention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and he lauded the women SHGs associated with Odisha Millets Mission in his first Mann Ki Baat of 2023 on Sunday.
“You must have heard the word entrepreneur, but have you heard Milletpreneurs? Odisha’s Milletpreneurs are making headlines and 1,500 women-led self-help groups in the tribal district of Sundargarh are associated with Odisha Millets Mission. They are making biscuits, cakes and other eatables from millet. Due to their great demand in the market, the income of women is also increasing.”
This came a day after the first commercial consignment of millets sourced from women-managed farmer producer organisations (FPOs) Shaktimayee Ward Mission Shakti Mahasangha reached the international market. Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry facilitated the shipment of this maiden consignment of around 1 tonne of whole and flour of millet to Dubai.
Odisha Millets Mission is a flagship initiative of the Agriculture Department to revive millets in collaboration with WSHGs, FPOs, NCDS, WASSAN and local NGOs. The state also celebrated ‘Millets Divas’ with Milli as its mascot on November 10 last year to promote ‘mandia’ or millets as a highly nutritious and eco-friendly food product.
The state government is promoting cultivation of the nutri-cereal in 142 blocks across 19 districts, involving 1,92,281 small and marginal farmers. Another Rs 362 crore has been sanctioned under the scheme which was launched in 2017 to revive millet in farms and on plates in the state. It is touted to be the second largest targeted agricultural programme after Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation (KALIA),
PM Modi also spoke about similar initiatives in Karnataka and Chattisgarh.
He further said that a sizeable number of Padma awardees this year were from tribal communities and people associated with tribal society, and the ‘People’s Padma’ movement marked a paradigm shift in Jan-Bhagidari, or public contribution, for building a ‘New India’. “Painters, musicians, farmers and artisans from tribal areas have been conferred the Padma awards. I urge all countrymen to read their inspiring stories.”
He also recommended a book titled ‘India – The Mother of Democracy’.