Odisha gears up for Int’l Convention on Millets, eyes global player tag by 2036

Bhubaneswar: Odisha will be the first state to organise an international convention on millets to promote the ancient grains.

This was revealed at a presser organised by the Agriculture and Farmers’ Empowerment department here today.

The theme of the two-day convention starting November 9 is ‘Millets—Ancient Grains for Modern Challenges’.

The United Nations has declared 2023 as International Year of Millets. The state government is making all efforts to make Odisha a major global player in millets by 2036, revealed the department in a statement.

The convention, scheduled to be held at Janata Maidan in the capital city here, will have farmer engagement activities, display of emerging technologies and machinery, experience centres, technical sessions, policy roundtables, B2B meetings, international food festival, quiz competition, cooking competition and many more, said Agriculture and Food Production Director Prem Chandra Chaudhary.

The convention will focus on the tribal heritage of millets and showcase the success stories of millet entrepreneurship of Mission Shakti Women Self-help Groups. UN agencies such as FAO, WFP, IFAD, Agri counsellors of Southeast Asian & Middle Eastern countries, African countries and European countries, embassies of several countries, Agriculture Secretaries of different states and many others will attend the convention, he added.

A unique musical concert on climate change and millet by three-time Grammy Award winner Ricky Kej is scheduled for the evening of November 9. Eminent Chef Vikas Khanna has also agreed to grace the occasion and interact with hotels, restaurants, food bloggers, WSHG members and Millet Mothers, revealed Chaudhary.

Speaking on the occasion Agriculture and Farmers’ Empowerment department Principal Secretary Arabinda Padhree said, “The convention will showcase millet diversity, forgotten foods and climate-resilient millet cropping systems of tribal communities. For the first time in the world, a Foundation Guide on millets developed in collaboration with many international experts under the overall guidance of the Asia Pacific Association for Agriculture Research Institutions will be released at the convention.”

A special Coffee Table Book capturing the journey and success of Odisha Millets Mission, especially the work of Mission Shakti SHGs, which has been developed with funding and guidance of the World Food Programme, will also be released on the occasion. “The Indian School of Business and York University have studied the Odisha Millet Mission and have developed learning and evaluation reports. Their reports will also be released at the convention,” Padhee added.

Agriculture Minister Ranendra Pratap Swain said the state Cabinet, under Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, has approved a proposal to spend Rs 2,687 crore in four years starting 2023-24 fiscal for promotion of millets in Odisha.

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