Read full article by Manav Mander@ The Tribune Photo Credit: The Tribune
WITH 2023 being the UN-designated International Year of Millets, there is a need to promote and strengthen the value chain for millets and millet-based products, including the ready-to-eat category. Millets are being increasingly recognised as climate-smart crops with enormous nutritional and health benefits.
“Rigorous efforts are needed to mainstream millet farming to improve the ecological balance and the health system of the population, using the ‘super grain’ as health foods. Incentives should be provided to people growing and procuring nutri-cereals, besides enhancing domestic consumption by creating awareness among the consumers. Farmers should be educated about millet-growing techniques and their processability,” says Dr Ruchika Bhardwaj, Millets Breeder, Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics, Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Ludhiana.
Millets are traditional grains grown and consumed in the Indian subcontinent since ages. They are classified on the basis of their seed size. Major millets include sorghum (jowar) and pearl millet (bajra); the minor ones are finger millet (ragi), foxtail (kangni), little millet (swank), kodo millet (kodon/kodra), barnyard millet (samvatke chawal), proso millet (chena) and browntop millet (hari kangni).
Gurmukh Singh, a farmer from Rangilpur village in Gurdaspur district, has been involved in millet farming for the past five years. Also a member of the Kheti Virasat Mission, he says millet farming is the solution to major agricultural problems being faced by Punjab