Read full article by Athira M@ The HIndu Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Even as Attappady continues to be the leader in millet cultivation in Kerala, it is being promoted in other parts of the State as well.

Dosa with five varieties of millets and payasams cooked with millets are just two artisanal foods on the menu of Millet Cafe at Pudur in Attappady taluk, Palakkad district. The four-month old cafe, run by three tribal women, serves a variety of millet-based dishes.

The cafe is one of the many initiatives of Kudumbashree (the State Poverty Eradication Mission of Kerala Government) to promote millet cultivation. Kudumbashree is also involved in the manufacture of value-added products from millets in Attappady, which has, for long, been the millet capital of Kerala, thanks to its tribal population. Kudumbashree has its own brand, Hill Value, to market farm and forest produce cultivated by the tribals and the Millet Cafe is their latest addition (see box).

The success of millet farming in Attappady has motivated other districts in Kerala such as Alappuzha. Last year, Cherthala South panchayat in the district, cultivated ragi (finger millet) on over 250 acres spread across 22 wards. It was perhaps the first time that a millet variety was grown on such a large scale in south Kerala.
The panchayat went for a second round of cultivation early this year, earned a good harvest and is now all set for large-scale cultivation after the monsoon.

All these years, much of the millet cultivation in Kerala has been concentrated in Attappady, which is home to three tribal communities — Irulas, Mudugas and Kurumbas. Millets are integral to their diet and in 2017-18 the Kerala Government launched the Millet Village scheme in Attappady to support traditional agricultural practices of these communities. It was jointly implemented by Department of Agriculture and Scheduled Tribes Development Department. Idukki and Wayanad districts also have millet farms, mostly in tribal settlements.

With the United Nations declaring 2023 as the International Year of Millets, they are back as a superfood. Millets have high protein content, are resilient to climate variations, requires less water for irrigation and is ready for harvest over a short period of time.


Posted on

June 13, 2022

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