18 Sept 2023

PM Modi Commends, President Murmu Honors Madhya Pradesh's Millet Queen Lahari Bai


Bhopal: "Proud of Lahari Bai, who has shown exemplary enthusiasm for Shri Anna. Her efforts will inspire many others."

When Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi tweeted this no one knew about Lahari Bai. Today, she is known as "The Millet Queen."

Lahari Bai, a 28-year-old tribal woman living in the Silpudi village of the Bajag Development Block, located about 60 kilometers from Dindori, a predominantly tribal district in Madhya Pradesh.

Millets Seed Bank 

She has been managing a Millets Seed Bank for nearly a decade. In a small, makeshift room in her modest earthen home, she has built a seed bank for endangered seeds, including many grains that are not known to others.

Very recently, President Droupadi Murmu awarded Lahari Bai with 'Plant Genome Guardian Farmer Award' for the year 2021-22 for her dedication to the conservation and development of Shri Anna species (millets).

Lahari Bai was also honored with a cash prize of Rs. 1,50,000, a commendation letter, and a memento at the Global Farmers' Rights Conference, New Delhi.

Seed bank has over 150 varieties of seeds

More than 150 varieties of seeds are available in her seed bank, which she has carefully preserved over the years. Lahari Bai has even built a large shed to safeguard the seeds.

Lahari Bai distributes these seeds to neighboring villages and collects them after crops are harvested. This way, rare seeds that were on the verge of extinction are given a new life with each crop cycle, thanks to Lahari Bai's efforts.

Lahari has inspired more than 300 farmers

So far, she has inspired more than 300 farmers to contribute seeds to her seed bank and motivate others to save seeds. Lahari Bai has been cultivating these traditional seeds in the villages of Samnapur, Bajag, and Karanjia within three development blocks.

Many farmers are also supplementing her efforts. Lahari Bai travels from village to village, distributing seeds and collecting them back in equal volume after harvesting crops.

It's worth mentioning that three years before the announcement of the International Year of Millets 2023, CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan had already launched the State Millet Mission in Madhya Pradesh, which has immense potential for millet-based food products and processing.

The state is second in millet production in the country. Dindori district is a millet-rich district, and Lahari Bai is the brand ambassador of Dindori district and of course all of those concerned about disappearing seeds.

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