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Celebrating Thirty Four Years of Service

Reviving Nutritional Wealth: Millet's Resurgence in Keonjhar District

Millet, a locally abundant cereal, holds the promise of nutrition and sustenance in the fertile lands of Keonjhar District. Nestled amidst hills and a climate conducive to its growth, Keonjhar's terrain is an ideal millet cultivation ground. The region once witnessed a diversity of millet varieties, including foxtail, little millet, and finger millet, which formed the cornerstone of the local diet. Yet the charm of millet cultivation faded over time as market dependence and packaged foods lured communities away from their heritage crops.

The shift in consumer preferences cast a shadow over millet, leading to its gradual decline. Kendujhar district's predominantly tribal and economically challenged population has been grappling with malnutrition, exacerbating the urgency of the situation. The district's people traditionally relied on forests for sustenance, but diminishing forest patches, coupled with changing consumption patterns, led to a decline in local crop cultivation, particularly millets.

In response to this alarming trend, PECUC stepped in to empower change agents within these communities. By forming women's groups and imparting training in organic farming and millet cultivation, PECUC aimed to rekindle the millet culture for improved nutrition. A remarkable example is Mita Naik of Badadhanurjaypur. Mita and her husband Ramesh, both daily labourers and parents to four children, found themselves at the crossroads of sustenance and aspiration.

PECUC's intervention breathed new life into their situation. Empowered by newfound knowledge and support, Mita embarked on cultivating millet on a modest 10-dismal plot of land. Her efforts bore fruit, as she successfully harvested 20 kilograms of this treasured cereal. Mita's journey epitomises the transformative power of reclaiming traditional practises and marrying them with contemporary awareness.



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