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BERHAMPUR: The State Government’s Millet Mission has not only augmented the income of farmers but also addressed the issue of malnutrition in Gajapati and Kandhamal districts. The mission has proved to be a success in villages under Raikia block in Kandhamal and Gumma block of Gajapati district. The Agriculture department has been promoting millet cultivation in the districts in a big way. Since one of the objectives of the mission is to fulfil the nutritional needs of women, expectant mothers and children, the Women and Child Development department too is overseeing its implementation in rural areas.
Cultivation of millets, high in nutrients, had almost vanished form Gajapati district. But the efforts of the Agriculture department has brought the cultivation almost back on track. In the current year, 533.7 hectare land in 17 panchayats of Gumma block has been brought under millet cultivation.
Cultivation of ragi, gurji and kosla, kodo, kangu and jowar has picked up pace in the block. Earlier, a few farmers, who cultivated millets sold their produce at throwaway prices to traders from other states. However, now they have the option of selling their produce through the mission. In a bid to make farmers aware of the nuances of cultivating millets, a ‘Sachetana Rath’ was flagged off on Friday from Ramanagada panchayat office in Gumma block by sarpanch R Bhuyan.
Apart from the two districts, as many as 1,671 farmers from 130 villages of Phulbani have benefited from the mission. District Agriculture Officer, Kandhamal Basant Kumar Sahu said the Agriculture department will procure millets from farmers at `32.95 per kg through dedicated mandis.