Report by Odisha Diary bureau, Bhubaneswar: At a time when millet farming is on the rise in western countries not only due to its nutritional value but also due to its ability to protect against certain chronic diseases, like cancer and heart disease, unfortunately the in India particularly in Odisha cultivation of the most important drought-resistant crops is on the verge of ruin, opined speakers here at a workshop organised by NIRMAN.
Environmentalist Prof Radhamohan, NABARD CGM TK Mohapatra, former information commissioner Jagadananada, Dinesh Balam of WASSAN and Bijay Nayak of DHAN Foundation attended the workshop and highlighted the benefits of the millet farming.
Prof Radhamohan described the crops like Mandia, Jaa, Bajara, Tangu, and Suano as ‘magical crops’ as it does not need fertilisers and pesticides to grow and also can be cultivated in low irrigated and even non-irrigated areas.
Jagadananda said millet plays a vital role in achieving the food and nutrition security for the small and marginal tribal communities.
NABARD CGM TK Mohapatra highlighted the measures being undertaken by the NABARD in promoting millet farming. NIRMAN chief Prasant Mohanty shared his concern over the decline in the millet farming and hoped the workshop will generate awareness among the farmers to resort to millet farming.
“There was a time when millet farming was actively done in Odisha. Now, the millet cultivation has been facing negligence of the various stakeholders and on the verge of ruin. If efforts are taken for the revival of this farming which does not need fertilizers and pesticides to grow and also can be cultivated in low irrigated and even non-irrigated areas, then the prevailing agrarian crisis as well as the issue of food scarcity would be resolved,” said Mohanty.
A large number of millet farmers coming from Kandhamal, Rayagada, Gajapati and Deogarh participated in the workshop and shared their experience on millet crop diversity, farming culture and economy. An exhibition was also organsied at the venue where soup and other food items prepared from millets were displayed.
First published on The Pioneer