State catching up with superfoods

Move to expand Millet Village scheme to other districts

February 03, 2019 07:35 pm | Updated 07:35 pm IST - THIRUVANANTHAPURAM

With ‘superfood’ and ‘eat smart’ strategies forming the main ingredients of the latest dietary mantras, the State Agriculture Department is earmarking farm space in more districts for growing nutrient-rich millets.

Satisfied with its trial run — the Millet Village scheme at Attappady in Palakkad district — the department was planning to expand cultivation to Idukki, Wayanad and other parts of Palakkad, including more tribal villages at Attappady, Agriculture Minister V.S. Sunil Kumar told The Hindu . The department had sought Central support under the national-level mission for promoting millets, Mr. Sunil Kumar said.

Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac, in his State Budget presented on Thursday, had stated the government’s intention to popularise the cultivation of these climate-smart crops.

Under the Millet Village scheme, the department had harvested ragi (finger millet), thina (foxtail millet), cholam (sorghum) and kuthiravaali (barnyard millet) in 1,200 acres. Additionally, a pilot scheme for cultivating Chia, a Central American plant, which is gaining popularity in India as yet another superfood, was progressing at Attappady, Mr. Sunil Kumar said.

A happy combination of factors such as high protein content, short growing season, climate change resilience and low water requirement make millets an ideal crop for the State, he said. ‘‘Millets can be harvested in 60 to 97 days. That is one advantage. Nowadays, people fighting problems such as diabetes and obesity are increasingly turning to these cereal crops,’’ Mr. Sunil Kumar said.

If it plays its cards right, the State can cash in on the national-level interest in millets that is doing the rounds courtesy the superfood fad. The Minister said that he had written to the Union government seeking Kerala's inclusion in the national mission for millets, although the State did not strictly meet the criteria.

‘‘The condition is that we need to have 20,000 acres under cultivation. At present, we have only 1,200 acres under 35 tribal 'Oorus' in Attappady. We have sought a concession indicating the high demand for millets in the State,’’ he said.

Top News Today

Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.