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Tasks for India’s millet revolution

  • Published
    31st Jan, 2023

Despite the tremendous benefits associated with millet, there are serious constraints to increased millet cultivation and consumption in the country.

About Millets
  • Millet is a collective term referring to a number of small-seeded annual grasses that are cultivated as grain crops, primarily on marginal lands in dry areas in temperate, subtropical, and tropical regions.
  • Two groups of millets are grown in India.
    • Major millets include sorghum, pearl millet and finger millet
    • Minor millets include foxtail, little millet, kodo, proso, and barnyard millet
  • Benefits: Millets have
    • special nutritive properties: they are high in protein, dietary fibre, micronutrients and antioxidants
    • special agronomic characteristics: drought-resistant and suitable for semi-arid regions

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has declared 2023 as the International Year of Millets.

What are the real problems?

  • The decline in the area under millet cultivation
  • Low productivity of millet
  • Changing food habits

Recent Government Interventions

  • The Government of India and State governments, notably Karnataka and Odisha, have initiated Millet Missions.
    • Odisha already has a dedicated millets mission that undertook procurement of 32,302 tonnes worth Rs 109.08 crore, mainly of ragi, in 2021-22.
  • Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and Haryana might want to do the same in bajra, just as Maharashtra may for jowar, Karnataka for ragi, and Madhya Pradesh for Kodo/ kutki.
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