Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami on Saturday inaugurated a millet festival here with thousands of farmers from the state participating in the four-day event aimed at promoting millet production. "Shree Anna Mahotsav 2023 will prove to be a milestone in the promotion of millet production in the state," Dhami said in his inaugural address at the festival.
It will not only encourage millet farming but also provide necessary information to farmers interested in growing millets. He said the credit for declaration of 2023 as the International Millet Year by the United Nations goes to Prime Minister Narendra Modi who had moved the proposal for it.
"Millets are not only nutritious but also rich in medicinal properties. Such events will help millets like Mandwa, Chaulai and Jhingora become part of the staple diet of every household," Dhami said.
He spoke of steps taken by the state government to promote millet production by announcing an MSP (minimum support price) for millet crops, facilitating online payment to farmers who sell them to the government for their distribution through the PDS (public distribution system) and their inclusion in the mid-day meal programme.
This has encouraged the farmers to grow millets and increasing their income, he added. The state has allocated Rs 73 crore for the Millet Mission in the budget. The chief minister inspected the stalls of millet-based products at the event and released a book on the nutritious crops of Uttarakhand titled "Swad Ke Saath Swasthya." Uttarakhand agriculture minister Ganesh Joshi said the state has set a target of doubling millet and horticulture production by 2025.