Raimati Ghiuria: ‘Queen of Millets’ cultivating sustainable agriculture in Odisha

Raimati has preserved 72 traditional paddy varieties and at least 30 varieties of millets — including Kundra bati mandia, jasra, juana, and jamkoli.

NEW DELHI | Updated: 22 December, 2023 1:46 pm IST
Raimati Ghiuria: 'Queen of Millets

NEW DELHI: In the heart of Odisha’s Koraput district, a small tribal village is making headlines, thanks to the remarkable efforts of Raimati Ghiuria, often hailed as the “Queen of Millets.” Raimati’s journey from the fields of Koraput to the prestigious G20 Summit held on September 9, 2023, has not only earned her accolades locally but also garnered international recognition.

The recent G20 Summit, which brought together delegates from 19 countries, including Australia, China, Italy, and the European Union, featured an unexpected but exceptional guest—Raimati Ghiuria. Invited to commemorate the International Year of Millets, she took the opportunity to shed light on the importance of reviving interest in these native grains that have been overshadowed by the widespread consumption of rice and wheat over the years.

Draped in an ethnic saree and adorned with flowers in her hair, Raimati stood out in the global arena, capturing the attention of dignitaries, including the President of India, Draupadi Murmu. The summit provided her with a platform to showcase the rich agricultural heritage of her village and the significance of preserving traditional rice and millet varieties.

ALSO READ: Kashmir man buys land on moon

“I got an opportunity to speak to people from across the globe about our village and our contributions in conserving millets. They called me the ‘Queen of Millet’,” Raimati shared with pride. “So many people surrounded me to take pictures. It was a one-of-a-kind experience for me.”

Despite her limited formal education, Raimati has become a symbol of grassroots knowledge and practical experience in farming. Having preserved 72 traditional paddy varieties and 30 varieties of millets, including the likes of Kundra Bati, Mandia, Jasra, Juana, and Jamkoli, she has become a force to be reckoned with in the realm of agricultural conservation.

Raimati’s dedication to preserving indigenous seeds caught the attention of the Odisha government, which is set to officially release one of her millet varieties, ‘Kundra Bati Mandia,’ next year. Her journey from the fields of Koraput to the global stage is a testament to the impact that individual farmers can have on promoting sustainable agricultural practices.

ALSO READ: Year ender 2023: 10 biggest controversies that roiled Bollywood this year

When asked about her inspiration, Raimati credits Kamala Pujari, a 70-year-old woman honoured with the Padma Shri for conserving hundreds of paddy seed varieties. Despite marrying at the age of 16, Raimati never lost interest in farming, continuing to collect and preserve millets.

Raimati has preserved 72 traditional paddy varieties and at least 30 varieties of millets — including Kundra bati mandia, jasra, juana, and jamkoli.

To further amplify her efforts, Raimati collaborated with the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF), a non-profit organisation based in Chennai. Since the year 2000, MSSRF has been instrumental in assisting Raimati in adopting scientific conservation methods, including the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) and the Seed Multiplication Index (SMI), among others.

ALSO READ: Delhi prepares for chilly weekend as fog descends across city

Taking the initiative to share her knowledge, Raimati has trained 2,500 farmers in her community to adopt millet farming techniques. Additionally, she played a pivotal role in establishing a farm school in her village in 2012, contributing her ancestral family land for this purpose. Through the farm school, she actively imparts scientific practices of millet farming, empowering individuals to enhance their income through value addition.

In a world grappling with agricultural challenges, Raimati Ghiuria’s story is a shining example of how one individual, armed with traditional wisdom and a passion for conservation, can bring about significant change. As she continues to champion the cause of millet farming, Raimati remains an inspiration not just for her village but for the global community seeking sustainable solutions to food security.

Also Read Story

Rishikesh AIIMS visiting faculty accuses doctor of misconduct at India Habitat Centre

Kharge questions PM Modi’s silence on NEET controversy

Roy to be prosecuted under Anti-Terror law

Kejriwal’s wife ordered to remove Court Video