This unique national initiative called Millet Network of India was formally launched on October 16, 2007 by the noted organic farmer and ideologue Dr Nammalwar of the Tamil Nadu Organic Farmers Movement at Machnoor Village in Medak District of Andhra Pradesh on the occasion of The World Food Day. Emergent from the first National Consultation on Millet the endorsement, membership and active partnerships of organization and individuals as farmers, scientists, development academics and civil society activists is increasing.
The scope, activities and support for MINI has multiplied over the last year, and a formal structure has emerged with the constitution of:
MINI Network Partners, are drawn from several millet growing states, across diverse agro-ecological regions. This coalition of like-minded organizations and individuals currently has more than 50 registered member organizations from the Indian States of Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Punjab and Uttarakhand (Please see Annexure-III for the list of MINI network members). Each of the partner organizations has rich experience in working with local communities especially the poorest of the poor in their respective regions. The partners strongly believe in achieving the MINI goal through placing Millets on their organizational agenda and synergizing their efforts by sharing organizational capacities to address the historical neglect of millets and millet growing communities over a greater geographical region and diverse socio-political contexts;
MINI Steering Committee formed in August 2008, has already convened twice till date (Please see Annexure-IV for the profile of MINI Steering Committee members). The MINI Steering committee in revisiting the recommendations of the National Consultation on Millets has deliberated and produced a detailed plan of action until 2015 to facilitate and empower the local communities in regaining the rightful place of millets in their food and farming system.
MINI Thematic Core Groups, have been drawn from the experiences of partner organization in various fields. Thematic groups working on the issues highlighted in the Hyderabad Deceleration on Millets have been formed. The thematic groups are working on: concept of productivity and multiplicity of yield; documentation of farmers knowledge; preparing the case for placing millet on the Public Distribution System; issues of land rights and; issues of millet processing and value addition;
State Level Millet Networks, have taken significant steps and started consultation with farmer groups, scientists, academia and civil society groups which have led to the formation of State Level Millet Networks in Maharashtra. Similar efforts are underway in Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and Tamil Nadu, and is likely to expand in 5 more states in the coming years;
MINI Secretariat, convened, coordinated and hosted by Deccan Development Society, has a National Coordinator to look after the overall project. Considering the importance of reviving millet based mixed farming in Punjab and Karnataka; State level Coordinator’s are working towards realizing the MINI vision.
All the MINI network members believe in building strong communities, which can reclaim their own sovereignty and stay as individual castles against the neo liberal corporate aggression on their food and farming systems. Working individually and together such sovereign local communities can be the strongest forces in protecting the rights of the people against the globalizing forces that work for homogenization and hegemonic control.