Karnataka government sees big scope for millets, pushes their cultivation

V.Sajeev Kumar Our Bureau | Updated on January 08, 2018


The Karnataka government’s efforts to popularise millet cultivation seem to be yielding results, thanks to a rising consumer demand based on awareness about healthy alternatives.

Krishna Byre Gowda, Karnataka’s Agriculture Minister, cited drought, climate change and erratic monsoon as the driving factors for popularising millets such as ragi, jowar and bajra.

These are less water-intensive crops compared to paddy or sugarcane and a shift to millet cultivation will help tide over the water crisis, he said. The Minister, who was in Kochi for a roadshow on the upcoming International Conference Organics and Millets to be held from January 19-21 in Bengaluru, emphasised millet cultivation to bring down prices so as to make them more affordable.

Millets are now selling at an average price of ₹100 a kg in the retail market, while the farmers are getting around only ₹40.

As nutritious cereals with low glycemic index, millets offer tremendous business opportunity as home-grown solution for breakfast instead of foreign foods. If there is a market, farmers will definitely take up millet cultivation, he said.

The State government, he said, intends to go for tie-ups with large food companies in Mumbai and New Delhi to introduce millets. He pointed out that the area under millets in Karnataka has fallen significantly, and the government has announced a ₹34-crore package to encourage cultivation.

A marketplace for the produce and incentives will help improve cultivation, he added.

Published on October 27, 2017

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