BHUBANESWAR: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik visited Mission Shakti Mela on its seventh day and launched exclusive stalls like ‘Mandia Cafe’ representing millets based value added products here Wednesday.
He interacted with SHG members and lauded products like eco-friendly plates, Dokra craft, Sabai craft, Terracotta, Bamboo craft, food and spices. He appreciated entrepreneurship initiatives of women SHGs and congratulated them on their noteworthy collective action towards socio-economic empowerment of women in Odisha.
The women SHG members expressed gratitude to the Honourable Chief Minister for the financial assistance received from the State Government under State Interest Subvention Scheme – ‘Mission Shakti Loan’ at 0% annual rate of interest.
Mission Shakti Mela is a unique initiative by the Government to extend a platform to the women SHG producers and Producer Groups (PGs) to display and sell their wide range of products through this exhibition. This will not only help urban consumers gain knowledge and access diversified and unique SHG products at Bhubaneswar, but also enable rural and urban women producers to showcase their products, develop market linkage and further refine their produce as per the current consumer preferences.
While many of the attractions at the fair have drawn visitors, it is the tradition food courts which have turned most heads. Among these, a Millet café serves diverse delicacies including biryani, chicken pakoda and traditional Odia snacks. Here aloo chop, vada and pakodi are made with millets instead of rice or white flour.
Participant Geetanjali Behera said, “It’s very easy to make these snacks. Mandia or finger millet is easy to digest and doesn’t soak much oil unlike other pulses. We are selling a lot every day. Owner Shabnam said, “Many are buying Proso millet or cheena to prepare Biryani and finger millet to prepare chicken pakoda which tastes as good as the original.”
These products are healthy as they are low on cholesterol, high in antioxidants and minerals. Nutritionist Swati jain said, “When you consume fresh produce, the nutrients are intact. No need to buy healthy foods when you have millets to turn to. Even I have come to the Mission Shakti Mela to buy this super grain.”
More than 70 stalls at the fair sell organic food items such as kanduli, biri, harad dali, rasi, wheat, black rice and more. A special item by Maa Shaktiroopa SHG prepares akhoo badi which has found many takers from the capital.
Commissioner-cum-director, Mission Shakti, Sujata R Karthikeyan said, “A place has also been identified at Gandamunda where 70 permanent kiosks will be constructed in one complex to enable women groups to sell their products throughout the year. Overall, the Organic food stalls at Mission Shakti have attracted many and still witnessing a beeline every day.
First published by Orissa Post on 11 Dec. 2019