The Department of Agriculture on Monday commenced an intensive training for millet farmers in the district to help them increase the yield and thereby generate greater consumer demand for nutrients-enriched millet food products.

The five-day training, meant for farmers from the select-blocks of Tirupur, Uthukuli, Avinashi, Gudimangalam, Kundadam, Mulanur, Palladam and Pongalur, will be covering production techniques from seed to harvest as well as methods to give value-addition to the millet crop under the recently conceptualised ‘Initiative for Nutritional Security through Intensive Millets Promotion' (INSIMP).

The INSIMP is a component mooted under the Rahstriya Krishi Vikas Yojana scheme of the Central Government.

Joint Director of Agriculture P. Thangaraju said that the primary aim of the project was to increase the millet production from the grain point of view, instead of using it more as a fodder crop, since the millet grains were more nutrient rich than paddy and wheat.

“We have already given away critical inputs such as micro nutrients, bio-fertilizers, potash, urea and fungicides worth Rs.3,000 for every hectare of cultivation to farmers for setting up demonstration plots over a total of 2,000 ha across the district,” he said.

An outlay of Rs.70 lakh had been earmarked for the project in the district.

Baseline data

Agriculture officials added that the department would be keeping a baseline data on consumption and demand of millets as part of the implementation of INSIMP project to ensure that millet grains were utilised more for human consumption in tandem with the project objective.