Bhubaneswar: In order to promote Millets for healthy food and farming,a state level workshop titled “Millet for health and nutrition” was organized by a state level NGO in Bhubaneswar, Nirman, on 30th Dec 2013 at CYSD.
The day saw panels comprising of several eminent members of the govt.officials,local NGO’s,nutritionists,media personals,academic worlds,farmers and tribals.There were discussions regarding different aspects of millets and its nutritional and health value in the society. Millets are not only the oldest crop known to the humans but also the most climatic complaint crop as well.Mr.PrasantMohanty,Executive Director of Nirman,said Millets are not only crops but also a cropping system and is alsosupports bio-diverse food production process. He said that instead of comparing per yield production of millets with other crops, compare should be made per kilocalories of nutrition production per acre. Millets has more advantage in nutritionalproduction per acre in compare with other cereals like rice and wheat.It goes with mixed farming system thereby conserving agro-biodiversity. There was a general agreement that millets needed a greater push in the society through both govt. and non-govt actors. It was felt that it is the need of an hour to include millets in the Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day meal (MDM) and ICDS programs. Prof.(Dr.) S.N.Pasupalak of OUAT, congratulatesNirman for its initiatives of reviving traditional based farming like Millet and thereby providing food security for the tribals.He also added the historical,climatic and nutritional value of millets in the society.
Dr.BalaramSahoo,of OUAT compared the traditional food system of China and India accentuating the fact that China is rich in its traditional values and eventually growing fast.He also emphasized millets has anti -cold and anti-cancer properties.He focussed on the promotional values of millets thereby giving importance from grassroots to global level.
ShriSahadebSahoo,IAS retired Chief Secretary, acknowledged the negligence of millet in the agricultural and food production policies. He gave due importance for the urgent publicity and awareness of millets in the society. He extended his support for any further millet promotional activities by Nirman.
Ms.PushpanjaliSatpathy, a researcher, was very much assertive about millet farming but raised the issue on land security of the farmers. She emphasised her viewpoints for land rights of the tribal farmers so that they can have a security in both land and traditional farming.
Dr.Sanjay Kumar Mishra,Nutritionist from Kalinga Hospital,depicted the multiple values of “raggi”;the most commonly found millet in Odisha. He not only generated the awareness on the consumption of raggi but also his willingness to be a part of this campaign.
Dr.Snehalata Nanda,Nutrition expert from OUAT,also presents her unanimous view on Millet farming and supports the inclusion of millets in mid-day meal and ICDS programmes and upscaling millet based farming by govt.
The farmers present at the convention took a resolute stand on millet farming. They too wanted govt. support to the millets based farming and processing facilities for millets. Other prominent demands that were made include a minimum support price for millets and due importance to millets farming in govt. policy and program. The workshop was organized in collaboration with Action Aid.