Plan to encourage millet consumption

Samples of millets on display at Jeeva Vaividhya Jaatara organised by Andhra University in Visakhapatnam.— File Photo: C.V. Subrahmanyam  

A comprehensive millet revival programme covering 47 mandals in seven districts of the State aims at increasing food and nutritional security by expanding and stabilising the area in five years.

The State Agriculture Department is implementing the programme under the National Food Security Mission.

Targeting 1,000 hectares in each of the mandals, the first three years will concentrate on expansion and the remaining two on consolidation.

Info gathering

“Gathering of basic information, benchmarking survey and capacity building have been taken up in the first year of the project in 2015-16,” programme State coordinator N.D.R.K. Sarma has told The Hindu.

The programme aims at increasing the area, production and productivity and household consumption of millets in the tribal mandals of East Godavari and north coastal districts and in the rain-fed mandals of Anantapur, Kurnool, and Chittoor. It will be implemented with a budget of Rs.32 crore.

The area under minor millets – ragi, korra, sama, ooda, variga, and arika – is proposed to be increased from the present nearly 1 lakh ha to 1.6 to 2 lakh ha. The present area under major millets -- jowar and bajra -- is 2 lakh ha but the consumption has to be increased, says Dr. Sarma.

Even in the areas where millets used to be consumed earlier, it had come down with many shifting to rice. Consumption of millets not only provides food security but also increases nutritional security by 40 per cent, he observes. In the targeted mandals the consumption has to be increased to 2,000 households beginning from 500 to 600 initially, he says.

To restore the place of pride enjoyed by traditional millet-food, food festivals, cooking competitions and recipe contests will be organised and additional recipes and baked items introduced.

Value addition and encouraging entrepreneurship are also a part of the programme. With area expansion, capacity building and value addition, demand is expected to go up. At gram panchayat level de-hullers and pulverizers have to be promoted. For example, though there is a demand for ‘korra’ and ‘sama’ the means of turning grain into rice are not available, Dr. Sarma points out.

To be coordinated in a forum of NGOs, WASSAN is the Lead Technical Agency for the programme and at the district-level, Project Director of Agricultural Technical Management Agency (ATMA) will anchor it.

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Printable version | Jun 17, 2021 12:17:21 AM |

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