Preserving tribal ethos – a step forward by Tata Steel Sukinda Chromite Mine

Star hotel chefs assess tribal cuisines for adoption in their menu at agro forest food Diversity Festival Prajatiya Khadyotsav. More than 50 rare varieties of indigenous paddy, 40 varieties of raggi and more than 80 varieties of tribal food on display

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SUKINDA: As a measure of encouraging conservation and promotion of biodiversity and tribal culture, Sukinda Chromite Mine (SCM) of Tata Steel in Jajpur district of Odisha organised an agro forest food diversity festival Prajatiya Khadyotsav on December 18, 2017.

This is a part of a series of initiatives that SCM has been undertaking to contribute to the National Biodiversity target of 2020.

The second edition of the Khadyotsav showcased an array of agro-food diversities among different ethnic and tribal groups of the region and other parts of the state. M S Swaminathan Research Foundation’s (MSSRF), Jeypore unit displayed 50 rare near extinct indigenous collections of paddy like Samudrabali, Machhaknta, Kalajira, etc.

21 varieties of raggi, like bada mandia, dasahara mandia, sana mandia, 2 types of foxtail millet and 41 varieties of plant parts used for medicinal purposes. On the occasion, successful vegetable farmers of the nearby village Nagada were also felicitated and given agricultural implements.

An exhibition of more than 80 varieties of ethnic and age old traditional and tribal food was set up. There were 30 varieties of traditional cake called Pitha (in local parlance), 10 types of rice, 25 types of curry, 35 types of roots, tubers and many more which the tribals have been using for ages. Exotic items like Black carpenter ant chutney, Bamboo shoot pickle, country chicken khichdi, cakes made of Mahul flower, etc were also a big hit among the visitors attending the exhibition.

Experienced chefs of star hotels of Bhubaneswar like Mayfair, Trident, Ginger assessed the cuisines, interacted with the participants and checked feasibility of adopting some of the delicacies in their menu. In November, SCM had facilitated the visit of four women of Sukinda for a visit to Taj Bengal to display their culinary skills. These four women also displayed food items there and were felicitated.

R R Satpathy, General Manager, Operations, Ferro Alloys and Minerals Division, Tata Steel said that this was a part of a series of similar events on Biodiversity that the Sukinda Chromite Mine has been undertaking and it aims to spread awareness on rich tribal food diversity of the region and to take it to next level by making it available in star hotel tables.

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