Millet cultivation in Andhra Pradesh has gone down drastically in the last 10-15 years due to the changing food habits and other factors. There is an urgent need to persuade farmers to take up cultivation of millets again as it is indispensable for food and nutritional security, aver agricultural experts.

They expressed the view at the regional research and extension convention for empowerment of rural women jointly organised by Acharya N.G Ranga Agricultural University and the Bhagavatula Charitable Trust at Haripuram in Visakhapatnam district on Friday.

Sharada Devi, Dean of Home Sciences, N.G Ranga Agricutural University, said several new technologies have been developed to reduce the drudgery of women engaged in farm work and to make several food products with millets. Most rural women suffer from malnutrition and therefore the importance of millet cultivation could not be overemphasized.

“The technologies we have developed will result in reduction of drudgery for women, value addition to the products, gainful employment and income generation,” she said. She said the cost of cultivation of millets such as ragi is less compared to other crops and water consumption is also less. Therefore, she said, farmers should be encouraged to grow millets and rural women must form self-help groups and set up small cottage units to prepare products based on the crops.

Ideal for health

Anurag Chaturvedi, Associate Dean, said most rural women suffer from anemia, and a balanced diet with plenty of millets, is ideal for them. Sumidaa Devi, the Deputy Commissioner, Service Tax, said rural women should learn to be more assertive and make use of the emerging opportunities.

B. Sriram Murthy, Secretary of the Bhagavatula Charitable Trust, said farmers should re-discover the virtues of conventional farming with emphasis on use of organic manure and millet cultivation.

(This article was published on November 9, 2012)
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