Andhra Pradesh

Tribal farmers now prefer to grow millets

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Many tribal families here now prefer to grow millets to paddy as it allows them to make additional income thanks to a set of new techniques they have mastered under the guidance of agricultural experts. The millet-cultivators are keen on expanding the area as the farm produce has started bringing orders to their doorstep.

Because of their nutritional value, millets have a huge demand and farmers are able to sell them at remunerative price in the local markets. These small-seeded grass plants are hardy and they grow well in dry zones as rain-fed crops under marginal conditions of soil fertility and moisture. Millets are one of the oldest foods known to the human race and possibly the first cereal grain to be used for domestic purpose. Millets are also unique due to their short growing season.

They can develop from planted seeds to mature, ready to harvest plants in as little as 65 days.

This is important in heavily populated areas. Millets can be preserved for two or more years if properly stored. Barnyard millets, finger millets, foxtail millets, little millets and pearl millets are widely grown in tribal villages of Sithampet mandal.

National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) Srikakulam District Development Manager MD Vasudevan says that over 500 famers can learn new techniques by joining the farmers’ clubs which would get each of them Rs.10,000 every year from the government. ARTS, Youth Club of Bejjipuram and other organisations are selected to organise interaction between farmers and agricultural scientists. ARTS Director N. Sanyasi Rao said the farmers could earn between Rs.8,500 and Rs.14, 000 per acre by growing millets. “Millets require a little investment of Rs.1,000 per acre. There is no need of fertilizers and pesticides. The crop also comes within 65 days,” he added.

The tribal farmers feel the need for proper marketing facility to further improve their income. Many companies sell processed millets at higher rates after procuring the crop from them for lower rate. “Storage and marketing facilities may help us earn better profits although we are happy with the current income,” said Palaka Rajaram. “Many other tribal people are also keen on growing millets but availability of land is a problem,” said Nimmaka Ananda Rao.



The millet-cultivators are keen on expanding the area as the farm produce has started bringing orders to their doorstep



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Printable version | Jan 20, 2020 12:52:48 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/tribal-farmers-now-prefer-to-grow-millets/article7905113.ece

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