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EFF HOSTS NCCI’s 2nd Millet Roundtable on-site at Anandvan!

Edited by Prof. Ruth DeFries (NCCI)

Earth Focus recently hosted the second Millet-focused roundtable, organized by the Network for Conserving Central India (NCCI), over 16th and 17th January 2024. The roundtable brought together people from several civil society organizations, farmer producer organizations, women self-help groups and other stakeholders to address challenges for advancing the millet ecosystem in the Kanha landscape.

The roundtable builds on NCCI’s work to assess the effectiveness of interventions to enhance production and consumption of millets, such as improved seeds, sowing techniques and market linkages, across more than a hundred villages in the landscape. The roundtable stems from the fifth Central Indian Landscape Symposium (CILS5), where a priority emerged to foster peer-learning opportunities for supporting millet farmers. The first roundtable was held in Mandla in August 2023. 

Native small millets – kodo and kutki – are the primary millets in the landscape, The importance of seeds and the vision of women leaders from Farmer Producer Organizations set the bottom-up priorities for discussions at the roundtable. Over the next one and a half days, 14 partners engaged in dialogue, addressing technologies for harvesting and processing millets, training opportunities, challenges for food safety, marketing along the rural-urban gradient, and actionable next steps.

Key takeaways included the necessity for a resilient millet ecosystem, emphasizing and conserving diverse millet varieties with meticulous seed passport data management and for gender-inclusive strategies for mechanization. Challenges in market research, penetration, branding for local and urban markets and value-added products were highlighted.

An on-site visit to Earth Focus’ processing unit showcased practical insights into millet processing, integrating learnings from millet mentor programs and leveraging government programs. Didis from local villages highlighted traditional recipes using kodo and kutki, including ladoos, barfis, and dhoklas. The roundtable showcases a unified approach across diverse partners to build an ecosystem for millets in the Kanha landscape that benefits farmers’ livelihoods, reduces drudgery in processing, and increases production and consumption of millets.

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