May 30, 2019
The grama panchayat has been selected for the District Collector’s food security programme
With the State trying to make the most of the wonder food tag that comes with millets and launching the Millet Village scheme at Attappady in Palakkad and in other districts, the Nanniyode grama panchayat in the district too has jumped on to the millet bandwagon with a trial programme.
The year 2018 was observed as National Year of Millets, and to take the message to farmers in the panchayat, the local body sourced seeds of jowar (sorghum), bajra (pearl millet) and maize from Tamil Nadu Agricultural University in Coimbatore and distributed it among select farmers.
Nanniyode has been selected for the District Collector’s food security programme and agriculture officers have been asked by the Collector to try and achieve self-sufficiency in food production.
However, unlike its milk, eggs, and vegetable produce, paddy farming in the village was far from flourishing — the annual production was 7.5 tonnes from 3 ha of land. The panchayat, having 6,217 families, needs 140 kg of rice for each family. The Collector had urged the people to reduce excessive intake of rice.
The panchayat then started exploring the possibility of growing millets as a substitute to rice and as a challenge for the people to adopt a healthier lifestyle, says Nanniyode agricultural officer Jayakumar.
As millets are hardy, grow well in hot conditions, do not require much care, and are very resistant to pests and diseases, they were grown as an intercrop and as small experiments on large plots of land.
A few farmers such as Surendran, Balakrishnan Nair, Sreejith, and Selvaraj had a good yield with their limited experiment. The panchayat’s Ammakootam group also grew millets in the farmstead and by the roadsides.
To familiarise them with millets, the panchayat started a campaign to popularise dishes made of cornflour produced by the Ammakootam group. Puttu, uppumaavu, and biryani were made from flour of maize. The campaign’s focus was ‘corn once a week.’
A campaign will be needed to make consumers aware of the various uses of millet flour.
Moreover, equipment will be needed to husk the millet seeds if large-scale millet farming is to be taken up, says Mr. Jayakumar.
The possibility of growing millets in the hilly region of the district should be explored to help attain food security, he says.
Original post on THE HINDU