Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government will host an international convention of millets on November 9 and 10, an official said on Thursday. The government has also set a target to procure 8 lakh quintal of ragi during the financial year 2023-24, the official said.
The convention is being held to promote millet and its products and encourage the marketing and export of millet-based products, including measures to include the use of millet food in the public distribution system, ICDS, mid-day meals, hostels and others, he said.
The convention is expected to help in linking millets with sports and incorporating millets in all sports hostels, engaging schools, hotels, hospitals, and celebrities in the use and promotion of millets, linking millets and green investments, re-exploring investments in the Odisha Millet Mission.
Odisha has been awarded as the best-performing millet promotion state at the National Convention on Nutri Cereals in 2021 and as the best state for scaling up millet mission in 2022 by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare and Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).
Meanwhile, the state government sources said that about 6.04 lakh quintals of ragi (millet) was procured in the last financial year 2022-23. To enhance ragi production, technology demonstrations were carried out in 79,000 hectares covering 1.72 lakh farmers during the year 2022-23. For the current year, a target is set for 1.5 lakh hectares covering more than 2.2 lakh farmers, the official said.
Odisha is also the first state to initiate a benchmarking exercise of little millet and foxtail millet for better marketing.
Odisha Millets Mission (OMM) has now expanded to 177 blocks covering all 30 districts from 143 blocks in 19 districts. The mission has also extended till 2026-27, the official said.
While 120 Farmers Producer Organizations (FPOs) are engaged in OMM as implementing agencies, more than 1,500 women self-help groups (WSHGs) are involved in different value chain activities.