Agri Department And WFP Join Hands For Advocacy Of Odisha Millet Mission

Bhubaneswar: Department of Agriculture and Farmer Empowerment in partnership with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) organized a one-day workshop on 27 August 2021 for the stakeholders to share the innovations, achievements, challenges, and way forward on the journey of Odisha Millet Mission.

Organised in the auditorium of Krishi Bhavan amid all COVID-9 protocols, the workshop was attended by district and Block level officials associated with Odisha Millet Mission, Scheme Officers from Directorate, Facilitating NGOs, and representatives from WASSAN and Nabakrushna Choudhury Centre for Development Studies (NCDS). Opening the workshop, the Commissioner-cum-Secretary, Agriculture and Farmers’ Empowerment,  Suresh Kumar Vashishth, highlighted the growing importance of millets in the changing climate and emphasized the need to document the gaps in ongoing strategies so that the Department can further strengthen the required areas.

Highlighting the State Government’s commitment to scale-up the initiative to more blocks, he appreciated the partnership with WFP in the areas to promote climate resilient food and nutrition security strategies in Odisha. The Director, Agriculture, Dr Muthukumar elaborated the unique features of Odisha Millet Mission and the productive partnership approach with WFP, WASSAN and NCDS.

The Deputy Country Director, WFP India, Eric Kenefick highlighted that millets covers all targets of SDG-2 right from access to food, to improving nutrition and contributing to small-holder farmers income and climate impacts. He highlighted that WFP’s global presence gives it a unique opportunity to facilitate knowledge exchange under south-south collaboration and supporting capacity strengthening.

The presentations by WASSAN, NCDS and the district officials and stakeholders from Nuapada, Bargarh, Malkangiri, Koraput and Keonjhar highlighted the achievements, challenges, solutions sought and way forward, succinctly bringing out respective highlights and best practices. IPE Global team brought into the partnership by WFP is undertaking field visits to understand more details. The participants in the workshop had threadbare discussions around six thematic areas of improving millet production and its value chain, increasing consumption, use of technology in millet value chain, reviving millet as a climate resilient crop, mainstreaming millet in the safety-nets and Gender and Inclusion in millet value chain. The workshop recommendations will feed into policy briefs that will inform millet programming in India and globally and promotion in view of 2023- the international millet year.

Odisha Millet Mission (OMM), a flagship programme launched in 2017 by the Department of Agriculture and Farmers’ Empowerment, Government of Odisha. It became the first of its kind agricultural initiative with a vision to increase and revive the production of millets in farms, a nutritious cereal, in Odisha and ensure people consume it. NITI Aayog has recognized the efforts of Odisha State Government for designing and implementing an impactful initiative – Odisha Millet Mission (OMM). Government of India has also recommended OMM as a model millet promotion project to other States.

WFP India has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with OMM for informing national, regional, and global policy dialogues on Millets as a climate adaptable nutri-cereal for sustainable food and nutrition security and advancement of south-south cooperation. This will help not only the cross-learning within and outside the state and country but also will support strengthening interventions within Odisha. WFP has engaged IPE Global Limited as the technical consultant to document key achievements by OMM, its operational model, future, and lessons it offers to learn, since its inception.