Bhubaneswar: A two-day International Convention on Millets (ICM) kicked off in Bhubaneswar on Thursday with an aim to take Odisha Millets Mission forward.
The convention, inaugurated by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, is being held at Janata Maidan with “Millets – Ancient Grains for Modern Challenges” as its theme.
The mega event features farmer engagement activities, displaying emerging technologies and farm machineries, experience centres, technical sessions, policy roundtables, B2B meetings, international food festival, Quiz competitions, cooking competitions and many more.
The ICM will focus on the tribal heritage of millets and showcase success stories of millet entrepreneurship of Mission Shakti groups, official sources said.
Speaking at the event, the Chief Minister said that millets are traditional grains, climate resilient and a powerhouse of nutrition. Stating that millets can play an important role in achieving nutritional security, he said that the United Nations has declared 2023 as the International Year for Millets. “Odisha is the first state to organise such an international convention involving all the stakeholders,” the CM said.
Noting that Odisha launched the millet mission in 2017, Naveen said that in order to encourage millet production, the state government has increased direct benefit transfer to the farmers and laid out assured procurement of millets. Odisha government is investing Rs 2500 crore for providing income and livelihood support to farmers, he said.
Speaking about the self help groups (SHGs), the Chief Minister said it is very heartening to see the women SHGs and their involvement in the millet value chain. They have shown the world how millet-based enterprises can play an important role in appealing the taste buds of the consumers and improving the livelihood as well, the CM said.
He called upon all to spread word about the millet mission so every eligible farmer can become part of this journey. Naveen hoped a roadmap for millets for the future would be prepared at this international convention.
The Chief Minister awarded Sundargarh, Koraput, Rayagada and Nuapada for best production districts in millets. Sundsrgarh topped the list among districts. He also released a Coffee Table Book, Special Postal Cover and felicitated 5 millet farmers for achieving exceptional success in millet production.