BHUBANESWAR: The State government has made a budgetary provision of Rs 362 crore for the Odisha Millet Mission (OMM) to boost the production of the Nutri-cereals and improve the economic condition of small and marginal farmers.
Announcing the financial support for the promotion of millets, Finance Minister Niranjan Pujari said, “Ragi has now been introduced under PDS and nutritional programme under ICDS. In recognition of the efforts under the programme, Odisha has been awarded “Best Millet Promoting State” under the “Poshak Anaj Award” by ICAR-IIMR and FAO during 2020-21 and the Skotch Gold Award, 2019.”
The Odisha Millet Mission launched in 2017 in 30 blocks spread over seven districts has been successfully implemented in 84 blocks of 15 districts in convergence with District Mineral Foundation (DMF), and will be extended to 142 blocks in 19 districts in 2022-23.
The programme started with 8,030 farmers with millet cultivation over an area of 7,444 acres in 2017-18, it has now been scaled up to 19 districts with a plan to cover 1.5 lakh farmers. In 2021-22, 52,800 hectares (ha) were covered under improved agronomic practices under diversified millets with 1.17 lakh farmers. The Agriculture Department has planned to cover 81,700 ha in 2022-23 with 1.5 lakh farmers, department sources said.
Recognising the nutritional value of millet (locally called Mandia) and providing additional income to the farmers, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik announced Rs 100 crore government support under OMM in 2019-20. Under PDS, ragi is provided at the rate of Rs 2 per kg to ration cardholder. It has been supplied to 50 lakh beneficiaries for one month in 14 districts as a substitute for rice, the sources said.