Representatives of millet growing farmers from the districts of Koraput, Nabarangpur, Balangir, Malkangiri, Gajapati, Ganjam, Mayurbhanj, Deogarh and Bargarh came together to express concern over the various challenges being faced in the cultivation of millets in these districts leading to food and nutrition deficiencies among the population. The fate of these traditionally grown crops, requiring almost no inputs and able to withstand the vagaries of weather, hang in a balance as they are increasingly being replaced by commercial crops.
Also adding to the woes of millets farmers is the lack of a market mechanism to fix the prices of these highly nutritious low input organically grown crops. The apathy and negligence by government authorities who tend to look down upon these crops with disdain terming them as coarse grains is hampering efforts. There is also no encouragement to include millets in the public distribution system despite central government recommendations.
Members from organisations such as Ekata, Nirman, Abhiyan, Pragati, RAD, Sacal, Prastutee, Gram Swaraj, RCDC and others stressed on the need to promote millets keeping in view the needs of small and marginal tribal and dalit farmers. These crops are also necessary to address the growing malnutrition amongst children, both urban and rural, by including them in Mid Day Meal schemes as has been done in the neighbouring state of Andhra Pradesh. They are also best suited to survive the climate change induced impacts upon agriculture that are leading to droughts in various parts of the state, particularly in upland rain fed areas.
A committee comprising of Sri Siba Prasad Sahu from Bargarh, Prasant Mohanty from Nayagarh, Bidyut Dash from Gajapati, Jagannath Mishra from Koraput and Sri Suresh Chandra Bisoyi of RCDC was formed to look into the challenges and devise ways to promote millets in the state. The network named Campaign for Millets Promotion (CAMP), Odisha, will carry forward the work of conservation, cultivation and propagation of millets through various outreach, awareness and advocacy programmes.
The most popular citizen journalists' reports on merinews chosen automatically on the basis of views and comments
View more jobs