Government of India (GoI) asks states to learn from Odisha Millet Mission (OMM) model


The National Mission on Nutri Cereals was launched during the National Workshop on Nutri Cereals at Pune on 28th September 2018. It was launched by Shri Radha Mohan Singh, Agriculture Minister, GoI. The event saw representatives of many state governments, agriculture experts, civil society organizations, entrepreneurs and farmers.

Dr Ashok Dalwai, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture Cooperation & Farmers Welfare and CEO National Rainfed Area Authority (NRAA), appreciated the work of OMM and requested all the states to adopt and learn from the OMM model for its emphasis on reviving millets in farms and on plates. He requested Government of Odisha to issue guidelines of the OMM, to be shared with other state governments. GoI will establishes a Centre of Excellence (CoE) on Millets under the leadership of IIMR at Odisha to support Odisha Millet Mission.

The Odisha Millet Mission is one of the flagship projects of WASSAN. WASSAN was involved with the mission right from programmer design, coordination, implementation (with partner NGOs) and management of the mission.

Dr Saurabh Garg IAS, Principal Secretary, Agriculture & Farmers Empowerment spoke about the Odisha Millet Mission(OMM), an initiative of the Government of Odisha in reviving millets.  He said it is a unique programme that emerged from consultations with civil society (RRA Network & ASHA Network), Academia (NCDS) and Government of Odisha. The programme was designed based on successful grassroots experiences.

Dr M Muthukumar IAS, Director, Agriculture & Food Production, Odisha gave a detailed presentation on the OMM. It is one of the first agriculture initiatives whose primary objective is to increase local consumption instead of production. He detailed the objectives of OMM as follows:

  1. Increase consumption of millets in rural and urban areas
  2. Setup decentralized processing units
  3. Improve productivity
  4. Better marketing for better price realization
  5. Inclusion of millets in ICDS, MDM and PDS.

Many promotional rallies, food festivals, and competitions were organized both in rural and urban areas to change the mindset of people around millets. Massive awareness campaigns were launched.

He said that Government of Odisha has already allocated 100 crores for procurement of millets. As Minimum Support Price(MSP) is there only for ragi in FY 2018-19, ragi will be procured through Tribal Development Co-operative Corporation (TDCC). An IT system has been set in place to ensure money is transferred to farmers within 3 days. An inter-departmental committee has been formed at secretary level and director level to track the progress on a fortnightly basis and farmer registration is in progress.


Millet Evening Snacks served to the Staff of IT Company in Bhubaneswar

Millet Mission Update | February 19, 2018

Government of Odisha has launched special programme for promotion of millets in tribal areas. One of the important components of the programme is to promote consumption of millets in rural and urban areas. In order to increase the awareness among the urban populace of the city, a Millet Urban Internship programme was launched by the State Secretariat under the project.

Under this project, awareness campaigns and recipe testing events will be conducted in various institutions, places and locations.

As part of urban internship programme, a millet recipe tasting was conducted in Sidda Development Research Agency (SDRC) for their staff. The session started with brief discussion on millets with the staff of SDRC.

Ms Aashima Choudhury, WASSAN explained the following:-

  • Nutritious Aspects
  • Historical and cultural significance
  • Low Ecological footprint
  • Climate change (Drought) resilience aspects
  • Various millet recipes

This was followed by a recipe tasting event. Following millet snack dishes were served to 100 people


The event received a very positive response. Many people were surprised that millets had such a rich history and tasty. Many people interested to bring millets into their diet at least once a week. SDRC also took a decision to serve only millet biscuits in all their office events going forward.

Chief Economic Advisor Appreciates Millet Mission Odisha as innovative public policy initiative to combat climate change

Millet Mission Odisha Update | February 19, 2018

Picture1Odisha Economic Association held its 50th Golden Jubilee celebration from 10th February 2018 to 12th February 2018. This event was hosted by Odisha Economic Association at Nabakrushna Choudhury Center for Development Studies. Around 400 participants from economics background attended the event. Many eminent economists from and outside Odisha participated in the meeting.

Key note address of the event was delivered by Dr Arvind Subramanian, Chief Economic Advisor (CEA) to Government of India. He spoke on the economic survey. “In this keynote address, he touched up on various subjects. On agriculture, he mentioned that as agriculture is a state subject, Like GST Centre and State has to come together to resolve the agrarian crises.


Picture3He said that many times policy suggestions may not become concrete schemes very soon. He congratulated NCDS on the role it played in transforming public policy discourse on millet into action oriented programme. He referred to his climate change chapter in the economic survey and also said Millet Mission Odisha is good model in this regard.

Millet Kheer was also served during the lunch. In addition, millet snacks such as biscuits and ladoos were also served to Dr Arvind Subramanian. CEA appreciated taste of millet snacks and suggested these should be promoted widely.

Press Release for SKOCH Award 2017 to Millet Mission Odisha

Date 23 Dec 2017 (Farmer’s/Kishan Day)

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, 20-21 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. From among these, Millet Mission Odisha was selected and conferred the SKOCH Award 2017 – Silver at the concluding session of the 50th SKOCH summit. The selection of these awards went through a rigorous process: scrutiny of application, jury evaluation based on presentation, online voting, and experts opinion plus delegates voting at the Summit.

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 this endeavour, Government, Civil Societ, and Academia have come together from day one starting from conception, to planning, to preparing guidelines, to implementation. The institutional architecture has been designed to draw upon the advantages of each entity, but also by providing space for flexibility that is required for a collective endeavour and to address emerging concerns.

To address the demand versus supply mismatch (or Chicken-Egg paradox), a framework with concurrent emphasis on production, consumption, processing, and marketing has been designed

The implementation of the programme brings together science and tradition. The knowledge of improved agronomic practices (line transplantation and system of root intensification) and use of suitable equipment (for instance, weeder) was superimposed on the understanding of local biodiversity and existing agricultural practices.

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 (SRI). The Government of Odisha is planning to extend the programme to 27 additional blocks in Kharif 2018.

Initiatives are being taken for the pilot inclusion of millets in State Nutrition Programmes (SNPs – Anganwadi’s, 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’s call to the United Nations to make 2018 as the International Year of Millets.

The application for consideration of SKOCH Innovation Award 2017 was submitted by NCDS the State Secretariat for the Mission. The Director of NCDS, Professor Srijit Mishra who is also spearheading the activities of the State Secretariat had made the presentation for jury evaluation in November 2017. He has received the awards at the 50th SKOCH summit on behalf of all the stakeholders of Millet Mission Odisha.


SKOCH Order-of-Merit Award being conferred to Special Programme for Promotion of Millets in Tribal Areas being received by Professor Srijit Mishra, Director, and NCDS on 20 December 2017 at Deputy Speaker Hall, Constitution Club of India, and NewDelhi. From Left to right: Mr Nirmal Bansal, Mr Rohan Kochchar, Prof Srijit Mishra, Dr CR Das


SKOCH Order-of-Merit Award being conferred to Special Programme for Promotion of Millets in Tribal Areas being received by Professor Srijit Mishra, Director, and NCDS on 20 December 2017 at Deputy Speaker Hall, Constitution Club of India, New Delhi. From Left to right: Mr Nirmal Bansal, Mr Rohan Kochchar, Prof Srijit Mishra


Millet Mission Delegates with SKOCH Order-of-Merit Award at Constitution Club of India, 20 December 2017. From Left to right: Ms Diptimayee Jena, Dr CR Das, Mr Pankaj Kumar, Mr RameswarMirdha, Prof Srijit Mishra, Mr SadanandaMajhi, Mr RamaniRanjan Nayak, Ms RashmiRekhaSamal


SKOCH Award 2017 – Silver being conferred to Special Programme for Promotion of Millets in Tribal Areas being received by Professor Srijit Mishra, Director, NCDS on 21 December 2017 at MavlankarSabhagrih, Constitution Club of India, New Delhi. From Left to right: Mrs.ManishaKochhar, Mrs.PratibhaPhatak, Dr GursharanDhanjal, Dr. DB Phatak, Mr. NK singh, Mr. Sameer Kochhar, Dr. M Ramachandran, Prof.Srijit Mishra, Prof.VNAlok, Mr. Rohan Kochhar, Mr.Nirmal Bansal


SKOCH Award 2017 – Silver being conferred to Special Programme for Promotion of Millets in Tribal Areas being received by Professor Srijit Mishra, Director, NCDS on 21 December 2017 at MavlankarSabhagrih, Constitution Club of India, New Delhi. From Left to right: Mr. NK singh, Mr. Sameer Kochhar, Prof. Srijit Mishra







Venue: NCDS Bhubaneswar | November 23, 2017

23800104_1738100742889210_1860464992248165766_oProf. Srijit Mishra and Dinesh Balam interacted with Professor Ramesh Chand, Niti Aayog, GoI on Millet Mission initiative of Government of Odisha. He was in NCDS Bhubaneswar to deliver presidential address on 31st National Conference on Agriculture Marketing.

He was keen on knowing the details of the programme. Prof. Srijit Mishra explained about the institutional architecture of the programme.

Professor Ramesh Chand appreciated the Millet Mission Initiative. He said that millets being the crops with high nutrition values and being resilient to climate change will play a key role in future farming systems.

He mentioned that Government of India is also encouraging millets and has written to United Nations to consider declaring 2018 as “International Year of Millets”. He wished success for Millet Mission Odisha.

Farmer perspectives on Sustainable Agriculture Programmes funded by Government

Venue: NCDS, Bhubaneswar | Date:  28-10-2017

Picture1The session started with a welcome address by Ms Sabarmatee, SAMBHAV at 10:30 am. She invited the Dr Srijit Mishra, Director, NCDS and Mr Sailen Routray, CSHB to be moderators of the session. Session focussed on farmer perspectives on the policy interventions by the Government namely Paramparaghat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY), Mahila Kisan Sasaktikaran Pariyojana (MKSP) and Special Programme for Promotion of Millets in Tribal Areas (Millet Mission Odisha). Farmer representatives from Sundergarh, Rayagada and Koraput participated in the discussion are following.

Below is the list of women farmers who were part of the panel discussion:-

  1. Ms Sundei Suatha, PKVY Project, Associated with Agragamee NGO, Rayagada District
  2. Ms Filicita Topna, PKVY Project, Associated with CIRTDS NGO, Sundergarh District
  3. Ms Vaidehi Mahanto, PKVY Project, Associated with CIRTDS NGO, Sundergarh District
  4. Ms Jayanti Hetrika, PKVY Project, Associated with PRADAN NGO, Rayagada District
  5. Ms Mami Penden, PKVY Project, Associated with PRADAN NGO, Rayagada District
  6. Ms Usha, Millet Mission, Associated with SACAL NGO, Gajapati District
  7. Ms Lakshmi Khillo, Millet Mission, Associated with CYSD NGO, Koraput District
  8. Ms TulsiBhumia, Community Resource Person, Millet Mission, Associated with CYSD NGO, Koraput District

Ms Sabarmatee asked each of the participants to introduce themselves. Farmers introduced themselves in their native language. She and co-panelist (Mr Sailesh Routray) translated the introductions into English for the benefit of non odiya speaking audience.

After introductions, Sabarmatee asked Sundei Suatha to speak about her experiences related to organic farming and PKVY in particular.

Ms Sundei Suatha spoke about the history of farming practices in her panchayat. She said that due to policies of the government, many people are moving towards chemical agriculture. Many of the Adivasi farmers are still reluctant to adopt the chemical farming practices. Adivasi farmers’ especially small farmers cultivate diverse crops and consume them accordingly. Adivasi farmers in Rayagada mostly survive on millets and other naturally grown food crops. She said she does not understand why the government is promoting chemical farming. Food cultivated through chemical farming is neither tasty nor healthy. They cultivate their crops through indigenous seeds. Previously each village had many seeds but seed varieties have come down drastically in the last couple of decades.She is also using modern equipment like weeders and other implements to reduce the drudgery. After the launch of the PKVY , she has become involved in the promotion of the organic farming. She is very happy that government is now encouraging organic farming after supporting inorganic farming for many decades. She has become a trainer and regularly trains other farmers on organic farming now.

Picture2Ms Filicita Topna said that she hails from Sundergarh district. Though farmers in her region traditionally cultivated without chemical inputs, there is an increasing trend of farmers moving towards the chemical agriculture in last 20 years. She used to practice chemical input driven agriculture. She came in touch with CIRTDS who explained to them about the benefits of organic cultivation. After interaction with CIRTDS, she realised the importance of organic farming. She stopped using chemical fertilisers.

With the support of CIRTDS, they have got trained in the agronomic practices. They started preparing Jeevanmrutha and Beejanmrutha. Previously they never used to treat seeds but are now treating their seeds which are reducing the pest attack. They also got trained on SRI methods. They experimented SRI method in millets and achieved a great success. Productivity doubled. They cultivated mixed cropping systems involving mustard potato and radish in SRI method. These gave tremendous success without use of any chemical inputs. Due to extensive training, they can now prepare 10 types of organic pesticides for various diseases. They are also promoting collective farming in 17 villages. Due to PKVY programme and interventions by CIRTDS, there has been a reverse in trend in the cultivation practices albeit slowly.

Ms Vaidehi Mahanto spoke about how they are bringing landless farmers into women collective. They are teaching landless farmers about organic farming. They have taken land on lease. Some of them have become good trainers. Through organic farming, they are now able to make a living and send their children to schools.  She said she is not repeating the points as most of them were covered by her colleague.

Picture3Ms Jayanti Hetrika said that due to their involvement in MKSP project, the community has become strengthened. They are also promoting local seeds. The arrival of machines such as power tiller, sprayers, and weeder has reduced the drudgery.  They are currently cultivating vegetables in 300 acres of land collectively and are selling them in various places such as Berhampur and Srikakulam. Due to machinery and knowledge, the huge surplus in production is being generated. Initially, women farmers used to be very shy to venture into marketing. But after the project intervention, they are going for collective marketing for better price realization.

Ms Mami Penden from Rayagada shared that currently there are engaged in cultivation in around 6000 acres. Initially, they used to be very worried about how they would procure seeds, pesticides and other necessary inputs for the cultivation. From the time they shifted to organic farming, they are no longer worried about these things. Through MKSP, they formed many women SHG groups who collectively engage in crop planning process. They plan in a way to ensure that harvest comes at the same time and this makes aggregation very easy. Collective aggregation and collective marketing have made brought a substantial difference to their incomes. From the time, chemical farming has started in their area, they have started seeing the emergence of diseases such as blood cancer, which was unheard of in their area before.

Ms Usha Paikia mentioned that their ancestors used to cultivate millets through broadcasting. Though her family cultivated millets, the area under millet cultivation was slowly shrinking. This year, members of SACAL NGO trained the farmers in the new SMI method. This method has increased the yields substantially. Crop cutting experiment carried out in the field showed that they got around 13.6 Qntls per acre. Seeing the result, nearly 20 other farmers in the village are planning to take up SMI method next year.

Ms Laxmi Khillo shared that they started working with CYSD in 2002 by forming an SHG. Koraput is the land of Mandiya. People always consumed Mandiya. It was a staple food. Previously Adivasis of Koraput cultivated millets through broadcasting and that gave a yield of only 3-5 Quintal per acre. It also needs number seeds. In this year, CYSD trained the farmers on SMI method and organic manure and organic pesticide preparation. Previously none of the farmers did seed treatment. After the intervention of millet mission, around 300 farmers did seed treatment and observed that there was no pest attack. As of now, harvesting has not been completed in the Koraput district, but seeing the number of tillers, it is expected that yield will be around 12 to 17 quintals per acre. Though millets such as finger millet and little millet were traditionally cultivated in the Koraput region, they did not know that they can be eaten as biscuits, upma and kheer. Due to millet mission intervention, they are learning various new ways to cook millets and are hopeful that this will increase the consumption among the new generation.

Ms Tulsa Bhumia who is working as community resource person in Boipariguda block. She is very motivated to work on millets as it is an ancient crop of the region. She said that though many millets such as pearl millet, barnyard millet, foxtail millet are grown in the region, finger millet and little millet are the major millet crops in Koraput region. There has been a decline in the area of millets due to other lucrative crops and due to certain structural impediments related to millets such drudgery and low price realisation. Millets used to be consumed as either pejo or javu and many people were not aware of nutritional benefits of millets. She has expressed happiness that millet mission is trying to address these concerns.


Q: Do adivasi farmers still practise collective farming? 


A: As of now, we don’t share our land as it is very complicated. But we collect aggregate and market the produce. In the KBK region, single women or widow or old farmers whose son has migrated to give land to landless labourers in our group. Women groups negotiate with the landowner on behalf of the landless farmers. Women groups support the landless farmers and collectively market the produce.

Q  Have adivasis reduced consumption of millets due to PDS?

A : Koraput island of mandiya. People consume mandiya as their staple diet. They begin their days, especially in summer with consumption of mandiya.

Q Explain how women identity as farmer strengthened?

A Before the project, women depended mostly on the men and did not feel economically empowered. They also felt very shy to do business. After the programmes, women have made sufficient money from the organic vegetable cultivation. They also became more confident and started directly selling in the market.

Dr Srijit Mishra summed up the session highlighting that not only are farmers getting back to their traditional methods, but they are also not shying away from use of technology. Farmers are displaying true scientific attitude. This should be an eye-opener for everyone.

Government of Odisha to form working group to document the indigenous seeds in Millet Mission Programme

Venue: Office of Principal Secretary, D.A.F.E, Government of Odisha | Date: October 31, 2017

Picture1.pngDr Sarat Babu, Principal Scientist , Regional Centre , Hyderabad National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (NBPGR) gave a presentation to the committee headed by Dr. Saurabh Garg, Principal Secretary, Department of Agriculture & Farmers Empowerment(D.A.F.E), Odisha on the Convention of Bio Diversity (CBD) agreement.

This meeting was attended by Mr. Hari Bhallav Mishra IAS, Director, Directorate of Agriculture & Food production, Odisha and Mr. Sanjay Pani, Nodal Officer NFSM Cell and other department officials. He stressed the need to the conserve and document the plant genetic material of millets and pulses indigenous to these regions. As per CBD commitments, Government is mandated to support conservation of germplasm especially in biodiversity-rich areas such as KBK region. He also stressed that in absence of documentation of biodiversity material, communities will not have protection against exploitation by MNCs/Others. There will be no legal basis for benefit sharing. If immediate efforts are not taken, then rich diversity may be irreversibly lost.

He shared that NBPGR is interested in partner with millet mission and document the various indigenous landraces related to millets, pulses, and rice. Landraces thus collected will be studied. Local farmers knowledgeable in seed selection will be trained by NBPGR on the pure line selection of local seeds. Seed collections thus selected after pure line selection will be given back to community seed centres established in the Millet Mission programme for multiplication and supply to farmers.

Dr. Pani, Principal Scientist NBPGR, Regional Center Cuttack shared about the Cuttack centre in conserving the germplasm in Odisha.

Picture2Mr Dinesh Balam, State Coordinator, Millet Mission suggested that field level participatory varietal trials with local indigenous germplasm along with indigenous germplasm available at NBPGR and NRRI may be taken up in the Millet Mission programme blocks. This will help in identifying best suited local cultivars which can be further multiplied and supplied to farmers through community seed centers.

Dr Saurabh Garg IAS Principal Secretary, D.A.F.E, Odisha seconded the importance of conserving the biodiversity and ordered a formation of working group to finalise the strategy and submit a report on this before December 2017. This matter will be taken up in the next high powered committee meeting of Millet Mission to be scheduled in January 2018.