Odisha government Monday decided to distribute ragi at the rate of Rupee 1 per kg among public distribution system (PDS) cardholders in the state. This was decided at the Odisha Millet Mission meeting held under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary A P Padhi.
The chief secretary directed officials to pilot the ragi distribution in seven poverty-stricken districts - Gajpati, Kalahandi, Kandhamal, Koraput, Malkangiri, Nuapada and Rayagada - in the month of July. The card holders in Malkangiri will be supplied two kilograms of ragi in July, the official said.
As ragi is a rich source of fibre and helps lower cholesterol level and the best food for weight control, diabetes and cooling the human body, Padhi directed the Millet Mission to promote the consumption of ragi in urban pockets through a tie-up with bakeries, biscuits manufacturers, sweet stalls and mega retail counters. Agriculture Secretary Sourav Garg said: "Around 17,500 quintals of ragi would be distributed to the card holders in the month of July." He said the future of the programme will depend on the acceptability of the people and the impact of the pilot.
The meeting also resolved to procure around one lakh quintals of ragi from the farmers in coming Kharif season at the minimum support price of Rs 2897.00 per quintal. "The prime objective of government intervention is to fetch good market price to the ragi farmers and to prohibit any distress sale", Padhi said.
Muthukumar, Director Agriculture said during the Kharif season of 2018, a total number of 24,499 farmers were registered and verified for procurement of ragi. Out of them, 6622 farmers sold their surplus product to TDCC (Tribal Development Co-operative Corporation). The procurement was done through 68 societies in eight districts at the rate of Rs 2,897 per quintal, Muthukumar said.
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