ONI Bureau: The Special Programme for Promotion of Millets in Tribal Areas (Millet Mission Odisha) has won the SKOCH Award 2017 – Silver and SKOCH Order-of- Merit. These were conferred at the 50th SKOCH Summit held at Constitution Club of India, New Delhi on 20th & 21st December 2017.
The SKOCH Order-of- Merit was conferred to the Millet Mission Odisha for being among the top 30 Transformational Innovation Projects in India.
The innovation for the Programme lies in the institutional architecture where Government of Odisha (through Department of Agriculture and Farmers & Empowerment under the aegis of Planning and Convergence Department), Civil Society (led by Watershed Support Services Network (WASSAN) as Programme Secretariat) and Academia (Nabakrushna Choudhury Centre for Development Studies (NCDS) as State Secretariat have come together to complement and supplement each other for a people-centric initiative to facilitate nutrition security and address climate resilience.
In its first year of implementation (Khari 2017), the programme is operational in 28 blocks across seven districts (Gajapati, Kalahandi, Kandhamal, Koraput, Malkangiri, Nuapada, and Rayagada) Millet production has been taken up in 7,444 acres by 13,457 farmers.
The Project Director, Agricultural Technology Management Agency (PD, ATMA) is the nodal agency at the district level who along with the Programme Secretariat work at each block with the Facilitating Agencies (FAs) to implement the programme through the Community Based Organisations (CBOs). The crop cutting experiments have been promising with yield measured at 4-8 quintals/acre for line transplantation and at 6.5 to 14 quintals/acre for system of root intensification. The Government of Odisha is planning to extend the programme to 27 additional blocks in Kharif 2018.
Initiatives are being taken for pilot inclusion of millets in State Nutrition Programmes (SNPs – Anganwadi & Mid-day Meals and Ashram Schools) and linking them to the Public Distribution System (PDS). An urban internship has been launched to spread knowledge on the health benefits, create awareness on contemporary as also traditional recipes, and provide a market for the produce.
Millet Mission Odisha will be an important partner in the initiative on National Nutrition Mission and in spirit is with the Government of India & call to the United Nations to make 2018 as the International Year of Millets.