Agro forest food diversity fest at Tata Steel’s Sukinda mine

Bhubaneswar: To encourage conservtion of bio-diversity and ethnicity, Sukinda Chromite Mine(SCM) of Tata Steel was today organised an agro forest food festival where 100 rare near-extinct indigenous varieties of paddy were displayed.

The festival ‘Prajatiya Khadyotsav’, held at Sukinda in Jajpur district, is an initiative by SCM to contribute to the National Bio-diversity Target of 2020, a company release said.

The event showcased an array of agro-food diversities among different ethnic groups of Odisha.

M S Swaminathan Research Foundation s (MSSRF) Odisha unit, Biju Patnaik Medicinal Plants Garden and Research Centre of Koraput led by its senior scientist Kartik Lenka displayed 100 rare near-extinct indigenous collections of paddy like Khuji, Jhupuramundi, Chitipiti and Butuki, it said.

Besides tribal farmers of Koraput, Raimati Ghiuria having 40 indigenous varieties of rice Alasikba, Duburaj, Bagadichudi and Cheteka and 12 varieties of finger millets Silijanha and Janha and Tularam Balia having collection of 97 indigenous varieties of paddy like Jakasaru, Muktabali and Haladichudi shared their experiences, it said.

The exciting part of the programme was exhibition and cooking of ethnic and traditional food in which more than 60 varieties were displayed.

There were 22 varieties of traditional cakes, called Pitha in local parlance, 5 types of rice, 13 varieties of ethnic curry, 15 types of roots, tubers and many more. There was also live cooking demonstration by tribal women.

Lauding the initiative of Tata Steel, Prasad Das, senior scientist at Odisha Biodiversity Board, said programes like these would go a long way in promoting the cause of biodiversity and create awareness among people.

Speaking on the occasion, Pankan Satija, General Manager, Operations, Ferro Alloys and Minerals Division of Tata Steel said this is part of a series of similar events being organised to contribute towards National Biodiversity Target of making a significant proportion of the country’s population, especially youth, aware of the values of biodiversity, the release said.