Phulbani: The state government’s Millet Mission has tasted initial success in Phulbani area. The programme was meant to augment the income of farmers and meet the nutritional needs of people in tribal-dominated Kandhamal district.
Notably, the mission aims to fulfill the nutritional needs of women, expectant mothers and kids so as to fight malnutrition. This mission is successfully taking roots in various panchayats under Phulbani, a report said.
The mission is vigorously being pushed by the women and child welfare department and the agriculture department in the tribal areas in the current kharif season.
In tribal areas, the crops used to be cultivated on a large scale many years ago, but lack of marketing later impacted its cultivation. Now, the focus is to revive small crops for good income generation of the tribals. This cultivation is getting the much-needed attention across the state because of its high nutritional value.
In fact, the nutrient-rich millets were fast fading away from in tribal pockets of this district, but the effort of the government has ensured a steady comeback of the crops to the agricultural scene in 12 panchayats, thanks to Millet Mission.
The scheme’s objective was to increase millet production by providing growers with marketing support and promote millet-based food processing entrepreneurs.
For last three years, a number of steps have been taken to promote cultivation of millets such as ragi, gurji and kosla (small millet), kodo, kangu (foxtail millet) and jowars, which are known as age-old traditional food of the hill dwellers.
Reports said, 1671 farmers in 130 villages have made good profits from millet farming in Phulbani area. More and more farmers are keen to take up this farming with government support.
Under the programme, improved technologies like line sowing and transplantation are adopted with less seed and root intensification. Farmers are encouraged to cultivate these crops to adopt these methods.
A team of officials comprising DAO Basant Kumar Sahu, Raikia BAO Anil Kumar Praharaj, deputy agriculture officer Upendra Padhi recently visited millet cultivated areas and too stock of the farming.
They were happy to see farming of millets raised by some farmers like Abhimanyu Malick of Subarnapur, Jalandhar Nayak of Mulukumaha and Sita Pradhan of Nuapalli.
The farmers were told by officials that the government will procure their millets at Rs 32.95 per kg this year.