14 Chhattisgarh districts sign MoU with IIMR to boost millet production in state
The collectors of 14 Chhattisgarh districts on Friday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Indian Institute of Millet Research (IIMR), Hyderabad, aimed at boosting production, providing employment to farmers and women’s groups and youths, among others.
The MoU was signed with Kanker, Kondagaon, Bastar, Dantewada, Bijapur, Sukma, Narayanpur, Rajnandgaon, Kawardha, Gaurela-Pendra-Marwahi,Balrampur, Koriya, Surajpur and Jashpur.
Under the MoU, the IIMR will offer support and guidance for boosting the productivity of Kodo, Kutki and Ragi, technical know-how, availability of high-quality seeds and also in setting-up of a seed bank in Chhattisgarh, an official release by the state government read.
Additionally, the initiative will also make arrangements to train the farmers of the state via Krishi Vigyan Kendra for “spreading the scientific technology developed at the national level related to millet production by IIMR Hyderabad at the field level,” the release added.
During the signing of the event, chief minister Bhupesh Baghel said Chhattisgarh will become the millet hub of the India. He added that minor cereal crops like Kodo, Kutki and Ragi are “rich in nutrition” and have a “good demand” in India. “Till now, neither the support price of these crops was fixed, nor was there any arrangement for its purchase. Even after producing such an important and valuable crop, the farmers who grew it remained poor,” he noted.
The chief minister stated that the state government has now begun a ‘Mission-Millet’ to increase the yield of these crops, make sure they have good procurement arrangements, and are taken to the city markets following processing. According to the release, these crops have also been included under the ambit of Rajiv Gandhi Kisan Nyay Yojana. “With this, the farmers growing these small cereal crops will also be able to get input assistance like other farmers,” the release further noted.
What will be the process?
Baghel said that the purchase of these minor cereal crops would be done via the Van Dhan societies of Chhattisgarh Minor Forest Produce Co-operative Federation. Later, it will be used in schemes such as the midday meals, nutrition programmes, and public distribution system. “It has also been decided to manage ₹170 crore 30 lakh for the next five years of Millet Mission through DMF and other means,” the release read.
The chief minister also said that under ‘Mission Millet’, farmers growing Kodo-Kutki and Ragi crops would be provided with an input aid of ₹9,000 per acres and ₹10,000 per acre, respectively, for growing Kodo-Kutki and Ragi instead of paddy.
Baghel also said that two processing units have been established at Kanker and Durgukondal. “In the next phase, MoUs will be signed with more such districts, where production of Kodo, Kutki and Ragi is abundant,” he was quoted as saying by the release.
What did other officials say?
IIMR Director Dr Vilas A Tonapi said that in the present times, there is a requirement to food diversity in our diet to address the problem of lifestyle-related diseases and malnutrition. He added that it is a “good initiative” by Chhattisgarh government to offer input assistance to the farmers producing millets, and that 2023 will be celebrated as the International Year of Millet.
Meanwhile, the MD of Chhattisgarh State Minor Forest Produce Co-operative Federation, Sanjay Shukla said that IIMR specialists will be posted in the 14 districts by the state government and that they will guide the farmers to boost the millet production. “Senior consultants will also be appointed at the state level. He will act as a master trainer,” he added.
Shukla also said that seed banks for small grain crops would be established in Bastar, Surguja, Kawardha and Rajnandgaon.