Raimati Ghiuria: Millet custodian farmer of Odisha

Raimati Ghiuria: Millet custodian farmer of Odisha bringing change in the society

Raimati Ghiuria, a 36-year-old member of the tribal Bhumia community in Odisha, appears to be a cheerful and unassuming woman. Her remarkable accomplishments as a custodian farmer, community resource person, and seasoned trainer came to light when she was selected to represent Odisha at the G20 Summit in New Delhi on September 9, where she shared her incredible story of preserving millet landraces in the Koraput district.

Raimati Ghiuria
Raimati Ghiuria at G20 Summit, New Delhi

Raimati, hailing from Nuaguda village in the Kundra block, resides with her husband Gobinda Ghiuria, and their three children. Committed to organic farming, she has shared her knowledge with over 2500 neighboring farmers, emphasizing the importance of organic practices. She believes in organic farming and produces her own vermicompost and plant nutrients. Her training encompasses techniques such as SRI (System of Rice Intensification), line transplanting for paddy cultivation, and SMI (System of Millet Intensification) and LT (Line Transplanting) methods for Finger Millets.

Recognizing her expertise, the Odisha Livelihood Mission (OLM) appointed her as an External Livelihood Support Person (ELSP), sending her to other blocks as a resource person. A pioneer in conserving local traditional landraces of rice and millets on her land, she has been educating other farming families about preserving local genetic resources. To date, she has preserved an astonishing 72 traditional rice varieties and 30 millet landraces. Her husband is also a progressive farmer who wholeheartedly supports her endeavors.

Raimati Ghiuria
Raimati in her Millets Seed Centre

Raimati also leads the Bamandei Farmers Producer Company Ltd in her village, which is actively involved in the production and sale of bio-fertilizers and bio-pesticides, as well as the procurement, marketing, and value addition of millets and related products. Furthermore, she played a pivotal role in establishing a farm school in her village, with her family donating the land and actively facilitating the school since 2012. Many times, her farm school becomes a place for conducting training programs for farmers in Koraput.

Raimati’s remarkable journey led her to represent Odisha’s Millet Mission in New Delhi. She showcased millet farming and the rich tradition of tribal farming in Koraput.

Raimati Ghiuria’s Remarkable Achievements:

  • Felicitated by the Department of Agriculture and Farmers’ Empowerment, Government of Odisha on Millet Divas held on 10th November 2022.
  • Genome Saviour Community Award conferred by PPV&FR Authority, New Delhi in 2012
  • Best Leadership Award by the district administration in 2013.
  • Jamsetji Tata National Virtual Academy Fellowship Award as a leading grassroots academician in 2015.
  • Best Farmer Award in Agro-forest Food Festival conferred by TATA Steel, Sukinda in 2015 and 2017.
  • Best Farmer Award conferred by ICAR – IISWC, Sunabeda in 2016.
  • Best Farmer Award in Traditional Food Festival conferred by TATA Steel, Nuamundi in 2018

Raimati Ghiuria’s incredible journey:

Raimati Ghiuria
Raimati Ghiuria sitting in front of her house

Raimati Ghiuria, despite her formal education ending in the seventh grade, exemplifies profound wisdom gained through hands-on experiences garnered from childhood. Her interest in seed conservation dates back to her early years, underscoring a deep-rooted passion for preserving biodiversity.

Inspired by the pioneering efforts of Kamala Pujari of Koraput, a recipient of the prestigious Padma Shri award for her tireless dedication to safeguarding rice seed varieties, Raimati draws motivation to continue her invaluable work in the field of seed conservation.

Raimati Ghiuria’s incredible journey serves as an inspiring example of dedication to preserving traditional crops, especially indigenous rice and millet varieties.

Her contributions to women’s empowerment, conservation efforts, and farmer capacity-building have earned her numerous national and state awards. She is also a renowned organic farming trainer.

 Recognized as a Custodian Farmer by the Government of Odisha in 2022. Raimati Ghiuria has conserved over 72 traditional rice varieties and 30 millet varieties. Some of these have outperformed high-yielding varieties in farmer field conditions, leading to their release by the Government of Odisha. One such Finger Millet landrace variety is Kundra Bati. Her dedication to millet cultivation and sustainable farming practices aligns with global goals for nutrition, agriculture, and sustainability. Her achievements stand as a testament to how small-scale farmers can drive positive change and contribute to food security.

Author: Tapas Chandra Roy, A Certified Farm Advisor on Millets, ‘Promoting Millets from Farm to Plate’ and an Author of 2 books on Millets -” Millet Business Ideas-Empowering Millet Startups” and MILLETS: The Miracle Ancient Grains. In a mission to take the forgotten grains- Millets to Millions. To remain updated on my blogs on Millets please subscribe to my newsletter and for any queries please feel free to write to [email protected]

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