Tribal people in Erode urged to grow millets and include them in diet

March 24, 2023 06:50 pm | Updated 07:29 pm IST - ERODE

G. Hemaprabha, Director, ICAR – Sugarcane Breeding Institute, Coimbatore, handing over blankets to students in Erode district recently.

G. Hemaprabha, Director, ICAR – Sugarcane Breeding Institute, Coimbatore, handing over blankets to students in Erode district recently. | Photo Credit: HANDOUT_E_MAIL

 The importance of growing millets and including them in the daily diet was highlighted during an awareness campaign held at Talamalai and Ramaranai tribal hamlets located in the Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve (STR) here recently.

Organised by ICAR – Sugarcane Breeding Institute, Coimbatore, the ‘Tribal nutrition awareness campaigns’ were held for school children and tribal women in the two hamlets.

The campaign was conducted as part of the ‘Development Action Plan for Scheduled Tribe Component (STC)’ project being implemented by the institute, in collaboration with STR.

Highlighting the importance of World Forestry Day, being celebrated every year on March 21, G. Hemaprabha, Director of the institute in her address at the Government Tribal Residential School, Talamalai, said that tribal children should aspire to become civil servants, scientists and policy-makers and help in conservation and protection of forests to maintain ecological balance.

Earlier, D. Puthira Prathap, Principal Scientist and Nodal Officer for STC, during his interaction with the children mentioned that the major objectives of the ‘International Year of Millets’, were to create awareness and increase the production and consumption of millets.

Listing out the efforts taken up by the tribal people across the country in reviving millets, he elaborated on how the tribal children could also play a role in achieving those objectives.

Lamenting about the dropout rate of children in tribal schools in the State, he said that there is a need to significantly improve the literacy percentage of the tribal people in the State.

The director distributed solar-powered torchlights, millet biscuits and jamakkalams to the students. S. Poongothai, headmistress of the school, said that the students immensely benefited from the campaign.

Later, during the campaign held at Ramaranai, the Director urged the tribals to cultivate the millets and vegetables, and include them in their own diet.

Following this, a demonstration of liquid bio-fertilizer treatment for millet seeds was conducted and a ‘pulverizer’ was handed over to the villagers.

A pledge against malnutrition was also administered.

K. Mohanraj, P. Geetha and V. Sreenivasa, scientists of the institute, and D. Balachandar from Tamil Nadu Agricultural University and officials from the Forest Department also spoke.

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