Bhubaneswar: A significant meeting took place today in Bhubaneswar, where three IAS Officer Trainees from the 2022 batch of the Chhattisgarh cadre were introduced to the innovative initiatives of the Odisha Millets Mission (OMM). The meeting, chaired by Dr. Arabinda Kumar Padhee, Principal Secretary of the Department of Agriculture & Farmers’ Empowerment, Odisha, aimed to provide insights into the OMM’s accomplishments and share the highlights of the recent International Convention on Millets.
The distinguished guests were Namrata Choubey, Assistant Collector, Baloda Bazaar, Bhatapara; Prakhar Chandrakar, Assistant Collector, Kanker; and Yuvraj Marmat, AssistantCollector, Raigarh.
The Scheme Officer of OMM began the session by outlining the imperative need for millet revival, the mission’s objectives, and the notable milestones achieved during the International Convention on Millets. The Odisha Millets Mission has gained recognition nationally and internationally for its inclusive approach to millet revival, extending from the farm to the consumer.
The young officers were apprised of the OMM framework, incentives provided by the Department to encourage millet production among marginal farmers, and initiatives to empower women self-help groups (WSHGs) through millet-based enterprises. The meeting also shed light on seed systems for landraces, multi-stakeholder consultations for millet promotion in various sectors such as hospitality, education, healthcare, and sports. Glimpses of the International Convention on Millets, including the Millet Song by Ricky Kej, were showcased to provide a comprehensive understanding of the mission.
Dr. Padhee emphasized the significance of promoting forgotten crops like millets, not only for their health benefits and climate resilience but also as a tool for empowering marginal and tribal farmer communities. He urged the young officers to replicate the best practices of OMM in their respective districts.
As part of the exposure program, a tour of Krushi Samikshya Kendra and Millet Shakti Outlet was organized for the trainee officers. The program concluded with Director of Agriculture & Food Production Prem Chandra Chaudhary extending a vote of thanks to the officers for their visit, accompanied by the presentation of millet gift baskets and mugs as tokens of gratitude.
The exposure program reached its pinnacle with a visit to a Millet processing unit at Baramunda, managed by Self-Help Groups (SHGs) of Trishakti Federation. The IAS Officer Trainees were introduced to various processing machineries used by SHG members, including grader, destoner, dehuller, separator, and pulverizer. Insights into the practices followed by WSHGs in the Odisha Millets Mission through the Millet Shakti brand were shared, emphasizing the positive impact on livelihoods.
The visit provided a holistic understanding of the Odisha Millets Mission, leaving the Chhattisgarh IAS Officer Trainees inspired to implement similar initiatives in their respective districts, fostering sustainable agriculture and community empowerment.