ICAR-CIWA organized Millet Mela at Kujang Block, Jagatsinghpur District on 17th November, 2023

As a part of celebration of International Year of mIllet: 2023, a Millet Mela was held in the premise Kujang Block Office, Jagatsinghpur on 17th November, 2023 with the theme "Millets For Dietary Diversification and Sustainable Food Security (MIDFORTY)”. The main aim was to create awareness about millets with respect to its health promoting activities, high nutrient contents, sustainability in adverse climatic condition etc and highlight the role of farmwomen in cultivation of millets for sustainable food and livelihood security. The mela was also made available an environment for farmers/farm women and other stakeholders of different government and non government organizations to create a platform for exchange of knowledge on importance of millets for human health as well as contribution of farm women in cultivation of these millets. About 170 farm women belonging to different SHGs were attended the above programme. The event was graced by Shri Rabinarayan Jethy, OAS(S), CDO-cum-EO, Zilla Parishad, Jagatsinghpur as Chief Guest. He emphasized on need of awareness programmes about importance of millets on health of farmwomen as well as to avail the facilities extended by governmental schemes and programmes. There is a requirement of a multi-ministerial policy framework aimed towards building an Atma Nirbhar Bharat and resonates with the global call for self-sufficiency and sustainable development. Shri. Deepak Kumar Swain, BDO & the Guest of Honour, in his speech urged participants to come forward in celebrating international year of millets: 2023 in a holistic manner of what the nation envisaged. As a climate resilient crops, it is the need of the hour to start its full-fledge cultivation, value addition & product development for own consumption for better health care as well as selling in the market for income generation.
Dr. Mridula Devi, Director highlighted about the continuous R&D effort of the Institute on millets production and processing for enhancing income of women farmers through Custom Hiring Centre (CHC) mode, FPOs on millets, product labelling and branding which will certainly transform SHGs to SMEs. Gender mainstreaming, sensitization, bridging gender gap thorough processing of millet crops is the need of the hour to cope with celebration of IYoM. She emphasized on nutritional benefits, livelihood and economic security of millets as ‘Super Food”, and urged for reviving more area under millet cultivation in the coastal zone as these areas are frequent prone to natural calamities. Other Dignitaries such as Chief District Agriculture Officer (CDAO), Jagatsinghpur Shri Sanjiv Kumar Mudali, Sr. Scientist & Head, KVK, Jagatsinghpur, Dr. Jibanjit Sen and Smt. Ninarani Sahu, Block Chairman, Kujang also highlighted on importance millet for our daily diet and how to increase area under millet cultivation, its processing and value addition, marketing for better livelihood option and sustainability of society in the changing climate scenario.
Dr. Sachidananda Swain, Sr Scientist and the Convener, described the relevance of workshop in detail for the benefits of women farmers. Millet farming, its farm mechanization, processing and promotion of entrepreneurship is imperative to curtail the demand of rice and wheat. There is a need to change the general perception around consumption and trade point of view associated with millets and to re-brand coarse cereals/millets as nutri-cereals. An exhibition of millets based products marketed by rural SC women farmers was the centre of attraction this workshop. After inaugural session, millet exhibition was inaugurated wherein SHGs from the locality showcased millet based products. This is followed a farmers-scientist interface meeting where farmers raised their querries/concerned about production, processing, storage, transportation, marketability of millets, which were being replied by scientific experts and state level functionaries (ATMA, Mission Shakti and OLM). Finally, the programme was ended with the vote of thanks by Dr. Praveen Jakhar, Sr. Scientist and Co-Convener of the programme.
The whole programme was successfully organised by Dr. Mridula Devi, Director; Dr. Sachidananda Swain, Sr. Scientist & Convener, Dr. Praveen Jakhar, Sr. Scientist Co-Convener, Dr. Neetish Kumar, Scientist, Shri Sanjaya Kumar Behera, Er. Pragati Kishore Rout and Mrs. Tapaswini Sahoo, Sr. Technical Assistant of ICAR-CIWA.