A Central Seed Bank, a Millet Processing Unit and a Farmer Producer Company were among the new initiatives undertaken for tribal communities in Koraput district, Odisha.
With 141 rice landraces, 40 millet varieties, 12 pulses, 6 oil seeds and more than 50 vegetable seed varieties, the seed bank at the Tribal Agrobiodiversity Centre in Jeypore aims to revive genetic resources available in different parts of the district. It will also act as a resource centre that farmers of the region can access, for seeds.
At Macchara, Koraput, a Millet Processing Unit was inaugurated with the support of Indian Institute of Millet Research (IIMR) & National Academy of Sciences (NASI) in November 2019. In this region, farmers are already cultivating millets in several hundred acres of farmland. However, this unit would go a long way provide better marketing link to small farmers, said Dr N Anil Kumar, the then Executive Director of MSSRF at the inauguration. Value additions help increase the income of small and marginal farmers from crops such as millets.
Farmers are also eager to know more from development agencies. Mr Loichan Sukia, for instance who adopted seed production & participatory varietal selection in his field, shared that they needed more information on performance of traditional and improved varieties of finger millet to help choose the appropriate variety for better income.
In the same village, ‘Kolab Farmer Producer Company Ltd’ was inaugurated and the registration certificate handed over to the Directors of the Company. The producer company aims to provide farmer members quality farm inputs like millet seeds, small farm equipment like weeders, harvesters, organic inputs, chemicals and fertilizers at a competitive rate, reducing the cost of cultivation with technical advice to farmers from MSSRF. The Company will be tied up with many reputed firms for quality supply of inputs.
Other guests present during the occasion were Shri Roshan Kumar Karthik, Assistant Director of Odisha Rural Development and Marketing Society, Shri Keshav Rao, Agriculture Officer, Mahadeiput, Ms Bindu, Agriculture Officer, Umuri, Dr Oliver King, Dr Krishnakumar Navaladi and Dr Jagan MSSRF, and staff members of BPTAbC and members of the FPC.