'Government trying to popularise millets, which were replaced by rice, wheat'

Minister says cultivation of rice and wheat require a lot of water

September 18, 2021 01:33 am | Updated November 22, 2021 09:44 pm IST - MANGALURU

The Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Shobha Karandlaje said on Friday that millet production would be increased in the country by promoting their cultivation through various programmes of the government in the next two years.

She was speaking at a programme organised to mark the launch of the International Year of Millets - 2023 at Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Brahmavara in Udupi district.

Millet cultivation would be mainly promoted in States such as Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu. India would be made the export hub of millets by 2023, she said.

“The next two years are crucial as the U.N. General Assembly has endorsed a resolution, based on the proposal of India to increase the production of millets and its consumption as well,” she said, adding that good quality, pesticide-free production of millet and its proper marketing through packaging were planned.

The Minister said that the area under millets in the State had come down from eight lakh hectares to 3.5 lakh hectares. As rice and wheat are water-demanding crops, the government was trying to bring a shift in the farming approach.

She said that millet seeds recovered from Harappan sites suggest that millet played an important role in our food habits and only in later periods, the consumption of rice and wheat was promoted in the country.


Vice-Chancellor of Keladi Shivappa Nayak University of Agricultural and Horticultural Sciences, Shivamogga, Manjunath K. Nayak said millets used to be consumed in India predominantly, but post the Green Revolution in 1960s, dams were built, dry lands were irrigated and pesticides were added, contaminating the soil.

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