The 31st edition of the Festival of Plants and Flowers at the SFX School complex, Siolim, celebrates the ‘International Year of Millets’ or IYM-2023. This year has been declared as IYM by the general assembly of the United Nations at the behest of India.
AT THE FEST
The one and only O’luv has modified the song composed for the ‘Nachneachem Fest’ (held at the agriculture farm in Duler, Mapusa), and that is what the people at the festival got to hear.
There is a need to engage and involve the youth of Goa in the cultivation of millets. The Green Heritage Eco Club of SFX School, Siolim, has selected the theme ‘Millets in our Meals' for its event in this IYM 2023.
The inter-school competitions are focused on millets, grown or consumed, in Goa. The competitions include projects with live specimens of millet plants, grown by the students; grains, models and posters, and two students from each school explained the project to the panel of judges.
In addition to the parents of students at the SFX School, which has classes from nursery to higher secondary certificate (or Standard XII), there are students from the Institute of Hotel Management (IHM, Porvorim) and colleges, who are participating in the competition for the best dishes made of millets.
Students of St Xavier’s College, Mapusa have won prizes at competitions in the past. Earlier this year, IHM-CTAN, Porvorim held a national event with millets involving IHMs from other states.
The Festival of Plants and Flowers has been upscaled as a tribute to Diogo Seby Pinto, who has been leading the Green Heritage Eco Club from the forefront for a quarter of a century. It is a Silver Jubilee celebration.
MILLETS AND MORE
A book, entitled Millets in our Meals, was released on Saturday at the inaugural function. The book has articles on cultivation and disease management by agriculture professionals, including the Principal of GCA, Ela, Old Goa, officers of the Directorate of Agriculture, and agriculture graduates as also essays written by students of various schools, sharing their knowledge and experiences about nachne or ragi. Few of them have also written about other millets.
The book also has recipes for cooking nachne. Besides cartoons by Alexyz, who conceived and co-founded the festival with the support of the Parent-Teacher Association of the school, the book has photographs printed in colour to make it easier to understand.
It will provide the needed information on millets to the people of Goa. The book is available only at the festival.
The world is full of possibilities and innovations. We now get ragi chips that are loved by children and adults, alike. It is not necessary to consume nachne or ragi only in the form of bhakri, ambil and tizan, when ragi chips, cakes and biscuits are far more interesting to eat!
Ragi malt is a popular beverage in Karnataka, and there is no reason why it cannot be so in Goa. Come to SFX School at Siolim today (Sunday, August 27, 2023) or tomorrow (Monday, August 28, 2023, between 9.30 am and 6 pm, to see the exhibition.
A whole range of ornamental and fruit plants, manures, garden essentials and eatables from millets are available at the festival. Samples of honey from different parts of Goa are also on display.
The author is a former Chairman of the GCCI Agriculture Committee, CEO of Planter's Choice Pvt Ltd, Additional Director of OFAI and Garden Superintendent of Goa University, and has edited 18 books for Goa & Konkan