Govt plans to boost millet production with free seeds, cultivation in rainfed areas

The Agriculture Department has drawn plans to distribute free kits of seeds to farmers for increasing the area of cultivation of millets in the state. It also plans to revive millet cultivation under the rainfed farming system.

With Uttar Pradesh being one of the major producers of millets in the country, the state government has drawn plans to further boost the production of cereals to make the state number one in millet production in 2023 – the International Year of Millets.

The Agriculture Department has drawn plans to distribute free kits of seeds to farmers for increasing the area of cultivation of millets in the state. It also plans to revive millet cultivation under the rainfed farming system.

According to the state government, about 1800 tonnes of millets like jowar, bajra, kodo, sanwa etc in Uttar Pradesh, which amounts to 19.69 per cent of the total production of millets in the country.

“The Uttar Pradesh government plans to hold several programmes in the state for popularising millet and other nutritional cereals and an action plan is being prepared for the International Year of Millets, 2023. The plan will focus on strategies to enhance production, consumption, export as well as branding of the crops. The government plans to further make use of the increased production and its export,” a government official said.

The United Nations has declared 2023 as the International Year of Millets.

At present, the cultivation area of bajra is around 9.80 lakh hectares. The government plans to increase bajra cultivation area to 10.19 lakh hectares in one year.

Similarly, a target has been set up to increase bajra productivity from about 24.55 quintals per hectare to 25.53 quintals per hectare, the official said.

“The cultivation of jowar is at present being done on 2.14 lakh hectares. Our target is to increase it to 2.24 lakh hectares,” said the official, adding that similar enhanced cultivation and productivity targets have been set up for other crops of millets.

The action plan also proposes to adopt a cluster-based approach to boost production and increase the area of production through the distribution of common seeds and mini kits.

With the state facing a rainfall deficit this year combined with the delayed onset of monsoon in many regions, promotion of millet cultivation is also seen as a way of helping the farmers as millets are considered suitable for water-deficit regions – millets consume 70 per cent less water than other crops and do not require a large number of pesticides.

“Millets are considered low-risk crops that are resilient to climate change. The government wants to promote its cultivation in the rainfed areas of the state as well. The proposed action plan also recommends the promotion of coarse cereals under public distribution system and giving training about its cropping to farmers and creating awareness about varieties that are considered rich in special nutrients like protein, zinc, iron, vitamins etc.,” the official said.

The proposed action plan also includes giving a boost to the processed millet products for the national and global markets by encouraging the setting up of biscuit or bread factories.

“If required, roadshows will be held to promote coarse cereals. Even National Coarse Cereal Day could be celebrated in the state for it,” another officer added.

Source: Govt plans to boost millet production with free seeds, cultivation in rainfed areas | Cities News,The Indian Express