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Chhattisgarh 14 districts sign MoUs with IIMR for millet production boost

Raipur,  Fourteen districts of Chhattisgarh on Friday signed MoUs with the Hyderabad-based Indian Institute of Millets Research to boost production of millets in their respective areas, an official said.

Addressing the event where the agreements were inked, Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel said his government, under its ”Mission Millet” initiative, wanted to ensure farmers got best prices, input assistance, better procurement and process facilities as well as expert advice for minor cereal crops.

“Millets like kodo, kutki and ragi are mostly cultivated in forest belts and are in good demand in urban areas. Earlier, neither the support price of these crops was fixed, nor was there any arrangement for its purchase in the state. We have fixed support price and also included them in our Rajiv Gandhi Kisan Nyay Yojana,” Baghel said.

Under the RGKNY scheme, farmers growing kodo, kutki and ragi will be given input assistance of Rs 9,000 per acre, while those cultivators who have replaced their paddy crop with these three minor cereal crops will get input assistance of Rs 10,000 per acre, he said.

These millets will be procured through Van Dhan societies of the Chhattisgarh Minor Forest Produce Co-operative Federation, and after processing, will be used in mid-day meal schemes, public distribution system and nutrition programmes, the CM said, adding that his state would emerge as a millet hub of the country in the times to come.

The 14 districts that have entered into agreements with IIMR, part of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), are Kanker, Kondagaon, Bastar, Dantewada, Bijapur, Sukma, Narayanpur, Rajnandgaon, Kawardha, Gaurela-Pendra-Marwahi, Balrampur, Koriya, Surajpur and Jashpur, officials said.

As per the agreements, IIMR will provide technical assistance, ensure high quality seeds to increase production, and extend support in setting up a seed bank, they added.

On the occasion, the state”s Industry Department signed an MoU with Avani Ayurveda Pvt Ltd and Braj Commercial Pvt Ltd to set up millets and mahua processing units respectively in Kanker, an official said.

IIMR Hyderabad director Dr Vilas A Tonapi, its chief scientist Dr Dayakar Rao and district collectors attended the function, which took place in the CM”s official residence, virtually. PTI