Millets locally known as "Mandia" in Odisha and as "Ragi" nationwide has gained skyrocketing fame in recent times. After the Odisha government prioritized the production of millet and millet products by declaring November 10, as “Millet Day” or “Mandia Diwas”, there is a sudden rise in the likeness for the foodgrain amongst people nationwide.
Previously considered a staple food for poor indigenous people, millet was widely ignored by urban people as part of their regular diet. It has proven its potential in the five-day event of the International Food Innovation Exhibition held in the city of Paris, France.
On October 13, Chandrama Sahoo, President of Maa Raimali SHG, along with three members of her group went to Paris to exhibit food items, produced from millet.
In an interview with Odisha TV, Chandrama said, “Participants from more than 125 countries took part in the event, and our products were highly appreciated. Previously, people used to take Ganjam-produced Mandia (finger millets) casually.”
Products such as cakes, dried snacks and biscuits made out of finger millet were put on the exhibition, which was cherished by the judges.
Itishree Behera of India NGO said; “We selected the SHG group to go for the Paris event based on their high interest in developing millet products and materialization of the same into a business. Previously, mandia (millets) which were confined to poor people only now have taken place as a healthier alternative for the rich.”
Meanwhile, Ashok Kumar Bisoyi, Member, Zila Parisad said; “We were previously acquainted with millet porridge, which is nowadays not acceptable by the young generation. Millet is a rural product, and presenting it at a global level is a great feat.”