Bhubaneswar: The Odisha Millet Mission endeavours to revive millet cultivation and consumption, thereby promoting sustainable agriculture and improving nutrition in the state. Odisha takes the lead in spearheading the Millet Mission hand in hand with Mission Shakti developing a range of millet products, serving as the cornerstone of this initiative.
Mission Shakti alongside Odisha Millet Mission, actively promotes the establishment of millet seed banks, while promoting women-led development. Furthermore, it encourages the formation of Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs), which empower small-scale farmers to collectively market their produce, access fair prices, and strengthen their bargaining power. By promoting millet entrepreneurship, Mission Shakti facilitates women’s self-help groups to open Millet Shakti Cafes and Kiosks, ensuring the economic empowerment of women in Odisha.
To this day, 7 Millet Shakti cafes and 6 outlets are functional and managed by women SHGs at various urban locations like Bhubaneswar, Keonjar, Sundargarh etc. At rural and block levels, 150 charming kiosks and 5 food trucks, known as “Millet on Wheels,” serve rural delights and are managed by the SHGs and FPOs.
A diverse range of Millet Shakti products is readily available at these locations, designed to make millets convenient, delicious, and appealing to modern consumers. Staples such as millet rice and millet flour, along with delightful millet snacks, have gained popularity. The women operating these cafes serve delectable millet delicacies that promote dietary diversity and nutritional security.
Excited, one of the women from the SHGs shared, “Earlier while in the self-help group, our products wouldn’t sell. We had to wait for festivals to set up stalls or roam the streets as shopkeepers didn’t believe in their products. But, the emergence of Millet Shakti in 2021 changed the game for us. We are now able to earn more and provide our children with better lifestyle choices.”
Mission Shakti cafes and kiosks are acting as a catalyst that shoots the sales of products these women produce. Increased sales have now given them an opportunity to be independent, support their families and increase their societal self-esteem. The women above further added how they produce products like Raggi Chatua while maintaining top-notch quality and hygiene. As Chatua is good for health and has an amazing flavour she encouraged its consumption.
The implementation of the Millet Mission, Mission Shakti, and the accessibility of Millet Shakti products in Odisha have successfully revived the crop’s production in the state. This initiative has promoted sustainable farming practices, provided access to healthier food options, and empowered women through self-employment opportunities.