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Millets in India comprise cereal grains along with minute seed grasses. This category is significant of coarse grains i.e. grains having a rough and gritty texture having a high nutritional value and many health benefits. These are usually cultivated in semi-dry tropical regions of Asia and Africa and act as essential contributors to both – the human diet and animal fodder in developing countries. Their chief features include:
- Climate required for Cultivation of Millets
- Areas and Regions of Millet Cultivation in India
- Areas and statistics of Millet Consumption in India
- Export and Import of Millets in India
- Types of Millets in India
- Benefits of Millet cultivation in India
- Problems With Millet Cultivation In India
- Government measures to boost Millet cultivation
Climate Required For Cultivation Of Millets in India
Different climatic conditions are required for different types of millets, however, the climatic condition outline remains roughly the same for all:
- A warm, temperate climate is essential for the sprouting and germination of the millet seeds to keep the soil temperature cozy since they are susceptible to damage by cold weather and frosts\
- The sustainable temperature for millet growth is 20-30 degrees Celsius.
- Most millets have a short growing season and can be grown well in areas where other crops fail to grow.
- For example, Sorghum can be cultivated even in drought conditions, unlike any other plant because of its excellent water holding capacity due to the presence of waxy coatings on its stems and leaves.
- Most millets can do with little moisture since they have efficient water utilization abilities.
- In India about 8 millet types are cultivated under rain-fed conditions which require little or no irrigation, as they do not require high amounts of moisture -. For example, Jowar is a rain-fed crop (30-100cm, annually ) grown in the areas which barely need irrigation.
- Usually, minor millets require below 35cm of rainfall, while a few other major millets require at least 40cm of rainfall for a good harvest.
- Most millets such as Jowar, Ragi, Bajra, Sorghum, etc. are grown as Kharif crops i.e. as monsoon or autumn crops cultivated between June to November, as their moisture and rainfall requirements are such.
- Moreover, coarse grains are more adaptable and tolerable towards climate shocks when compared to other crops.