Agri Business

Drought-hit Karnataka gives demand-push to millets

Our Bureau Bengaluru | Updated on January 15, 2018

The Karnataka Agriculture Department has turned an evangelist to push the consumption of millets such as finger and foxtail millets, which are not only nutritious but also climate-smart, helping farmers in the State to deal with the worsening vagaries of nature.

“We are now focussing on demand creation, highlighting the nutritional benefits of millets and their ability to withstand the climate change. This should eventually benefit farmers,” said Krishna Byre Gowda, Agriculture Minister, Government of Karnataka.

Gowda was addressing a media workshop on popularising millets organised by the Karnataka Agriculture Department in collaboration with the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi Arid Tropics, the Indian Institute of Millets Research (IIMR) and the Green Path, an organic retailer.

The State has been trying to incentivise growers of finger millets (ragi) by declaring a bonus over the minimum support price announced by the Centre every year for the past few years.

Encouraging growers

Karnataka, which has been procuring about one lakh tonnes of ragi, has been distributing the same through the public distribution system.

The State’s move to promote millets assumes significance considering that the State has faced at least three consecutive droughts in the past five years, and that the acreages under millets have declined by about a fourth in the past ten years as farmers have shifted to cash crops such as maize, sugarcane and cotton, among others.

Vilas Tonapi, Director, IIMR, said that despite the drop in acreage, the production of millets is on the rise, mainly on account of improving productivity.

Published on November 18, 2016

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