SAI International Celebrates Millets Mission, a Flagship Initiative of the State Government of Odisha

November 22, 2022 marked a special occasion as SAI International School hosted a ceremonial celebration for the Odisha Millets Mission, a flagship initiative of the State Government of Odisha covering 72 blocks in 14 districts. The event was graced by eminent dignitaries: Shri Prem Chandra Chaudhary, IAS, Director of Agriculture and Food Production, Odisha as the Guest Of Honour & Dr Arabinda Kumar Padhee, IAS, Principal Secretary, Dept of Agriculture and Farmers’ Empowerment, Govt of Odisha as the Chief Guest. SAIoneers gathered at Indraprastha Auditorium to joyously immerse themselves in this event, which is one of a kind, a memoir of our acknowledgement of a certain superfood & its journey from being the ‘poor man’s grain’ to the powerhouse of nutrition.

A Special programme for the promotion of millets in tribal areas, Odisha Millets Mission (OMM) focuses on the indigenous communities, women farmers, small and marginal farmers & is implemented by community-based organisations such as Women SHGs, farmer producer organisations & groups for increasing local household level consumption, reducing drudgery & improving productivity.

The programme started by a soulful rendition put forth by the SAIoneers to welcome the guests, followed by an insightful presentation made by the students regarding the Millets Mission from a gender equity, climate resilience & nutritional security context. The presentation showcased statistical data backing up the scope & implementation of millet-based enterprises through FPOs & WSHGs, also shedding some light on scheme support provided to farmers for ease of agricultural practises, thereby, fostering massive village level awareness campaigns to increment local consumption.

While advocating for the WSHGs & indigenous farmers that would be empowered through this agro-ecological mission, Dr Arabinda Kumar Padhee, IAS, Principal Secretary, Dept of Agriculture and Farmers’ Empowerment, Govt of Odisha, said, ‘I can list 10 reasons why millets are good for the planet. From proffering an economic cost of cultivation, more profit to farmers, low glycaemic index, to being a one-stop solution for biggest of global challenges such as climate change, obesity, rural poverty & what not.” He was elated to witness how millets are added to the cafeteria menu for the students of SAI International School. Furthermore, he added, ‘We are often referred to as the diabetes capital & millets will tend to address that predicament too because of its low glycaemic Index. I’m sure that SAIoneers, as the more conscious citizens of the future will have a long & heathy life by amassing the numerous health benefits of millets.’

One glass of Ragi is equivalent to 3 glasses of milk. That’s how powerful these small seeded cereals are, which also happen to be climate resilient. I can vouch about how every country of the African sub-continent supports the cultivation of this crop. OMM aims to improve livelihoods of vulnerable rain-fed farmers by reviving millets in farms and plates. I’m pleased to be here & share the future aspects of OMM. Its startling as to how the millets product design is being represented at the world forum & the World Food Program is studying this model for ingenious implementations at other places. I am honoured to inform that I’ll be soon representing the state’s model in an International Millets Forum to be conducted at Rome” said Prem Chandra Chaudhary, IAS, Director of Agriculture and Food Production, Odisha while addressing the students.

‘Odisha Mission Millets is one of its kinds, knowledge intensive landscape-based agro-ecological initiative with focus on fork-to-farm approach and increasing dietary diversity of communities. I’m elated to see how it has emerged so far & how it has eventually gained global outreach. It is of great honour for all of us as citizens of Odisha that the prestigious Cambridge University is studying Odisha Millets Mission as one of the possible alternatives to the Green Revolution through TIG2RESS initiative. This initiative also caters to the sustainability aspect for farmers through usage of environmentally sustainable production methods.” said Dr Silpi Sahoo, Chairperson, SAI International Education Group while expressing her sentiments on the occasion.

A sagacious Q/A session was conducted towards the end of the event where SAIoneers posed their questions regarding the mission, its extensive scope in respect to the Green Revolution Model & implementation against all adversities. The guests patiently answered all the questions raised by the students, enriching them with valuable insights affiliated to the mission.