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Sundargarh to Cultivate Millets in 12 Blocks from FY 2022-23
The Odisha Millets Mission has extended its programme ambit to Bonai block in Sundargarh district, this year.
A tripartite MOU between ‘ATMA’- under the Agriculture & Farmer’s Empowerment Department, Sundargarh, technical consultancy agency WASSAN and a local voluntary organization has been signed for the purpose.
Following the signing of the MOU, the process for the cultivation of Ragi and other millet varieties has begun in Bonai block.
With the inclusion of Bonai block, nutri cereals are now grown in 12 blocks of Sundargarh district. During the 2022-23 Kharif Season, Millets are cultivated across six thousand hectares by roping in over 16,000 farmers.
In the newly included Bonai block, the crop is grown in 100 hectares of land this year. A target has been set to include 250 farmers in the programme. The District Mineral Foundation, DMF Sundargarh is financially supporting the programme in 8 out of the 12 blocks.
Millet has rich nutritional value. In the tribal dominated Sundargarh district, Ragi (Finger Millet) and other millet varieties are cultivated as the yield gives good returns. The Odisha Millets Mission was set up under the Agriculture & Famer’s Empowerment Department of the Govt of Odisha to encourage the cultivation of Millet and other nutritive cereals.
Sundargarh District found place in the Odisha Millets Mission map in 2018-19 when Finger Millet and Millet varieties began cultivation at Kutra, Nuagaon, Kuarmunda and Rajgangpur blocks.
In 2020-21, the programme was extended to four more blocks – Tangarpali, Hemgir, Lephripara and Balishankara. In 2021-22, it was further extended to Gurundia, Lathikata and Lahunipara blocks. Youth and women farmers are showing keen interest in the cultivation of Millets owing to the various incentives offered by the Sundargarh District Administration.
Millet has been included in the Public Distribution System of the Govt of Odisha. In addition, WSHG members are given training to prepare various snacks and food items from Millet. Millet Shakti kiosks have been opened in different parts of Sundargarh district with a view to popularize the food and provide livelihood support to Mission Shakti WSHG members as well. So far, 19 Millet Shakti kiosks have been opened across the district, while a Millet Shakti café has started functioning at Rourkela.
Due to its health benefits, Millet is being used in the special nutrition programme for children. Millet (Ragi) Ladoos are given to children for breakfast through the Anganwadi centres in Sundargarh district as a local food item.