Phulbani: Millets are the wonder crops endowed by nature. Fortified with protein, vitamins including balanced amino-acid, natural fibres and minerals like zinc and phosphorous, having ability of wound healing and disease curing, it can work wonders. This was the opinion of agriculture, food scientists and administrative officials at a workshop on safe and nutrition food here.
Workshop-cum-exhibition on safe and nutritious food was held jointly by NIRMAN and Phulbani district administration in Phulbani on Thursday to mark the celebration of national year of millets. Notably, earlier this year nutrient-rich millets have got a boost after the Union Government declared 2018 as the ‘national year of millets’.
“Millets are rich in protein and possess high therapeutic value. They are best suited for people suffering from chronic diseases like diabetes. A combination of rice and wheat with millets will work wonders for those suffering from chronic ailments,” said organic expert and former Chief Seed Certification Officer Ekadashi Nandi.
“Such workshop focusing on millet will not only increase awareness about its health benefits, but also result in higher demand for these drought-resistant varieties,” said Odisha Biological Product Institute senior scientist Dr Balram Sahoo.
Inaugurating the workshop, Phulbani District Collector Dr Brundha D discussed with the participants on increased cultivation of millet crops, and processing of safe and nutritious millet food along with their marketing.
“As millets grow well in local surrounding and are resilient to climate change, environmentalists have called them the golden harvest of dry land area. The national year of millets is being celebrated this year with a view to upscale the cultivation of millets, preserve millet seeds, maintain biodiversity, increase their consumption in daily food habit, produce and process quality food items from millets and improve the livelihood security of small and marginal farmers through market access for surplus product, said NIRMAN executive director Prasant Mohanty.
An illustrated multicolour training manual on millet production prepared by NIRMAN was also released on this occasion.
Around 180 participants including 60 farmers, district administrative officials, NGO representatives, FPOs, local entrepreneurs and media representative participated in the event.
Kandhamal Agriculture Deputy Director Pradeep Kumar Rath, ITDA Project Administrator Berendra Kumar Ratha, Ahimsa Club secretary Siba Prasad Sahu, NIRMAN programme director Suresh Chandra Bisoyi also spoke.
Farmers of Kotagarh and Taumudibandha block and NGO representatives shared their experiences on millet farming during the event.
Pahadi Farmers’ Producer Company Ltd promoted by local voluntary organisation JAGRUTI, Kandhamal Farmers’ Producer Company Ltd promoted by NIRMAN, KASAM, Shanti-Maitri, ORRISSA, and Jana Vikash displayed their millet products at the exhibition for sale and awareness.