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Urging Policy Formulation on Millets: An Indispensable Source of Nutrition for Poraja, Kandha and Penthia Tribal Communities in Kundra Block, Odisha, India

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Document pages: 6 pages

Abstract: Traditionally finger millet (Eleusine coracana) and little millet (Panicum sumatrense) have been regarded as major cereal crops in tribal communities of Kundra, Odisha state providing food and nutritional security. The influence of the food habits of urban population, distribution of cereals like rice by the Government of India at a subsidised rate free of cost under social welfare programmes, lack of knowledge on scientific agronomic practices and absence of strategic policy planning for sustainable agriculture and food and nutritional security in tribal tracts of Odisha state have threatened the very existence of nutritious millets. Millets, known for their climate resilience and high mineral and vitamin content, are healthy cereals providing a great solution to the global challenge of food security under the present context of climate change. The present study highlights the traditional inter-linkage of three tribal communities namely Poraja, Kandha and Penthia with millets, planning of scientific interventions in participatory mode with the communities to promote millet production, consumption and commerce and study of the impact of interventions for policy formulation on sustainable agriculture and food and nutritional security. The encouraging outcomes with policy recommendations are disseminated at local, national and international levels involving all stakeholders such as government agencies, not for profit organisations, print and electronic media, scientific community, funding agencies, traders and farmers with a view of favourable policy formulation to ensure sustainable agriculture and enhance food and nutrition security in ancient tribal tracts of Eastern India.

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