Govt to promote farming of millet on mission mode
New Delhi: Concerned over bringing down the cases of disabilities dues to lack of nutritious elements in diet, Union Agriculture and Famers' Welfare Minister Radha Mohan Singh has stressed on increasing the production of millets.
Given the nutritional values in millets, the government has the declared year 2018 as "National Year of Millets" and started promoting cultivation of millets like ragi and jowar on a mission mode to achieve nutritional security.
"Millets, also called 'nutri cereals' are being procured at the support price and also being included under Midday Meal scheme and public distribution system (PDS). Since millets are tolerant to drought, photo insensitive and resistant to climate change, cultivation of the crop requires less water than rice and wheat," Singh said while addressing Member of Parliaments in a consultative committee meeting.
Efforts are being made to promote cultivation of millets to achieve nutritional security because acreage has declined to 14.72 million hectare in 2016-17 crop year from 36.90 million hectare in 1965-66, the minister said, adding that millet cultivation has declined due to change in consumption pattern, dietary habits, unavailability of millets, low yield, less demand and conversion of irrigated area for growing rice and wheat. "As a result of this, level of nutrients like protein, Vitamin-A, iron and iodine fell in women and children," he said.
The push for nutri cereals will promote cultivation of jowar, bajra, ragi and little millets like kutki, kodo, sawa and kangni and cheena. Under NFSM, maize and jau are also promoted separately. Millets are cultivated on low-fertile land, mountainous, tribal and rain-fed areas in Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Telangana.