Bhubaneswar:9/11/23: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday inaugurated the first-ever two-day International Convention on Millets (ICM) 2023 at the Janta Maidan in Bhubaneswar. National and International representatives along with senior administrators were present on the occasion.
The ICM, the theme of which is “Millets – Ancient Grains for Modern Challenges”, features farmer engagement activities, displaying emerging technologies and farm machinery, experience centers, technical sessions, policy roundtables, B2B meetings, international food festival, Quiz competitions, cooking competitions and many more. As per the State government statement, the ICM will focus on the tribal heritage of millets and showcase success stories of millet entrepreneurship of Mission Shakti groups.
The objective of the ICM is to revisit the efforts and strategies of different stakeholders to develop a commensurate roadmap for millets in the future, along with showcasing the tribal culture and heritage of Odisha. In addition, the ICM will hold deliberations on policy reforms and investment opportunities in the millet ecosystem.
The CM said, “My government will put all the efforts to make Odisha become a center for excellence and contribute to economic growth, wellbeing, and health of the people of Odisha.”
Welcoming the national and international guests, the CM said that Millets are traditional grains, climate resilient, and a powerhouse of nutrition. Millets can play an important role in achieving nutritional security. Humble millets are emerging as hope for our future.
Saying that the United Nations has declared 2023 as International Year of Millets, he stressed that Odisha is the first state to organize such an International Convention involving all the stakeholders.
Focusing on state’s initiatives, he said that Odisha government always prioritized the welfare of every segment of society. We launched Odisha Millets Mission in 2017 with a focus to revive the millets. For us, promotion of millet is about justice and equity for rain-fed farmers of Odisha. To encourage millet cultivation, he continued, we have increased the direct benefit incentives for millet and laid out assured procurement of ragi. The state government is investing over Rs. 2500 Crore to provide income and livelihood support to farmers.
The Chief Minister awarded Sundergarh, Koraput, Rayagada, and Nuapada for the best production district in millets. Sundergarh topped the list among districts. He also released a Coffee Table Book and a special Postal Cover. He felicitated 5 millet farmers for achieving exceptional success in millet production.
Speaking on the occasion, Agriculture & Farmers’ Empowerment Minister Shri Ranendra Pratap Swain said that that CM’s vision has led to setting up of Odisha Millets Mission. Now millets are cultivated in 177 blocks of all districts. Mission Shakti women are leading millet cultivation and processing, he said.
Govt of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Secretary Shri Manoj Ahuja said that Odisha Millets Mission is not just a success in Odisha and India, it has also created buzz across the globe.
ICAR DG Shri Himansu Pathak said that ICAR will provide all support for growth of millets. ICAR has developed 125 varieties of 9 millets in last 5 years, he added.
Development Commissioner Smt Anu Garg said that Odisha Millets are an intrinsic part of tribals’ food culture in Odisha. We will encourage farmers to take up millet farming in a big way.
Food and Agriculture Organisation Representative in India Mr Takayuki Hagiwara said that India and Odisha are champions of millets. It can transform the agricultural landscape of India, he added.
Agriculture and Farmers’ Empowerment Principal Secretary Shri Arabinda Padhee delivered the welcome address and Director Agriculture and Food Production Shro Prem Chandra Choudhary proposed the vote of thanks.
International music composer, Grammy Award winner Mr Rickey Kej, and celebrity chef Mr Vikash Khanna also joined the programme as brand ambassadors.