Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government Monday decided to supply one kg of Ragi at Rs 1/kg to the beneficiaries of National Food Security Act (NFSA). The government will distribute around 17,500 qntls of Ragi under the programme. The government has also decided to popularise Ragi consumption in urban areas through bakeries, biscuit manufactures, sweet stall and mega retail counters.

The Odisha Millet Mission meeting held under the chairmanship of chief secretary Adhitya Prasad Padhi decided to move for improving nutritional consumption among the PDS card holders. The agriculture principal secretary, Sourav Garg, presented in the meeting the issues relating to ragi procurement and distribution in the State.

Chief secretary directed to pilot the ragi distribution in seven districts namely Gajpati, Kalahandi, Kandhamal, Koraput, Malkangiri, Nuapada and Rayagada in the month of July. The card holders in Malkangiri will be supplied two kgs of ragi.  Padhi further directed the Millet Mission to promote consumption of ragi in urban pockets through tie up with bakeries, biscuits manufacturers, sweet stalls and mega retail counters. Principal secretary Garg said that “around 17,500 qntls of ragi would be distributed to the card holders”. The future of the programme will depend on the acceptability of the people and impact of the pilot, he added.

It was further decided to procure around one lakh quintals of Ragi from the farmers in coming khariff season at minimum support price of Rs.2897.00 per quintal. Padhi said “the prime objective of government intervention is to fetch good market price to the Ragi farmers and to prohibit any distress sale”. directed to create wide awareness among the card holders about availability of Ragi in fair price shops.

Agriculture director Muthukumar told the meeting that in the Khariff season of 2018 a total number of 24,499 farmers were registered and verified for procurement of Ragi. Out of them 6622 farmers sold their surplus product to TDCC. The procurement was done through 68 societies in eight districts @ Rs.2897 per quintal. Around 17,986 quintals of Ragi were procured. Muthukumar further appraised that because of government purchase at the MSP, the farmers also got a higher price from the Ragi traders.

Development commissioner Asit Kumar Tripathy, Agriculture Production Commissioner Gagan Kumar Dhal, cooperation secretary Krishan Kumar along with senior officers from Millet Mission, TDCC and Food & Civil Supplies Department participated in the meeting.