Bhubaneswar : The Odisha Millets Mission is on a remarkable journey, reaching new heights in the state with its unique initiatives and a people-centric approach. By bringing together the government, academia, and community-based organisations, OMM has created a powerful platform that not only promotes healthier dietary choices but also supports local agricultural practices. At the heart of this movement are the Farmers’ Producer Organisations (FPOs), which play a vital role in the millet ecosystem of Odisha.
These FPOs, although small-scale, have a big vision. They strive to enhance farmers’ growth and competitiveness in the face of emerging trends and challenges. OMM is committed to enabling and empowering these organisations, helping them carve out marketing opportunities, and providing funds for their daily operations in each block. In cases where no FPO exists, women’s self-help groups are encouraged to step up and register themselves as FPOs.
Managing these organisations is no easy feat; it requires intensive training and skill development. OMM recognises this and collaborates with other civil society organisations and seasoned executives from successful FPOs to mentor and train budding leaders. Equipped with business acumen and strategic insights, these leaders are ready to drive growth and prosperity. It’s no wonder that the number of FPOs working with OMM is increasing steadily, with 76 currently on board. Looking ahead, the mission aims to expand its support to a total of 142 FPOs.
The FPOs have the freedom to sell their end products in the open market or supply them to the Tribal Development Cooperative Corporation of Odisha Limited (TDCCOL) at a service charge of Rs 31.5 per quintal (including labour charges) plus 1% of the MSP. As a result of OMM’s efforts, Odisha has witnessed a remarkable surge in millet production. Ragi, in particular, has seen an astronomical rise from 40,000 quintals in 2016–17 to over 7 lakh quintals in 2020–21. This success story is further validated by the remarkable increase in the number of farmers enrolled in the programme, which skyrocketed from 8,000 in 2017 to an impressive 1.3 lakh in July 2022.
The resilient nature of millets makes them an ideal crop for farmers in Odisha, as they can thrive in harsh climates and require less water. Through its unwavering dedication, the Odisha Millets Mission has transformed the agricultural and health landscape of the state. By incentivizing farmers and equipping them with the necessary skills, OMM has elevated the overall well-being and prosperity of Odisha.