TS plans to boost millets’ output and use

  • Campaigns on benefits to be launched

Hyderabad: To encourage people to produce and consume millets for good health, the Telangana government is coming up with a unique initiative under which the State is planning to supply millets in a big way through ration shops and special outlets at various places. “We want to encourage the people to eat millets rich in nutrients, proteins and carbohydrates and keep at bay the diseases”, Agriculture Principal Secretary Dr Parthasarathi has said.

At a press conference here on Wednesday, he said declining use of millets like jowar, bajra, ragi and others among the people, particularly youth, is resulting in health problems. Consumption of non-nutrient foods and poor food management are increasing lifestyle diseases like diabetes and hypertension among the people, the official said.

ICAR–Indian Institute of Millets Research Foundation Day will be conducted at Rajendranagar on February 9 (Thursday) and it will focus on millets consumption. Parthasarathi said that a plan is on the cards to encourage millets’ availability at ration shops and Anganwadis and use them in mid-day meals scheme in schools. Right now, millets’ production has come down to 7 million hectares from 14 million hectares earlier.

Principal scientist SS Rao said that about 35 to 40 stalls of millets by businessmen will be opened at ICAR premises on Febuary 9 during its Foundation Day. On the occasion, farmers will be encouraged to go in for millets production and felicitate ideal farmers, he said. To check the spread of diabetes, hypertension, cardio-vascular diseases, there is an urgent need for spreading awareness among the people and for increasing the consumption and production of millets, he said.

Policies adapted  by other states like Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand and North Eastern States to boost millet development and production as well as procurement are being studied. 

IIMR Director Dr. Vilas A Tonapi said that they will seek government cooperation for large scale millets consumption and set up stalls and cafes. Such crops are largely sown in rain-affected districts like Mahabubnagar, Medak, Adilabad and Ranga Reddy and will help the farmers get remunerative prices. The government will launch a Millet Mela at Necklace Road in April and May and spread the message of millets consumption for good health, he said.

Millets are climate resilient short duration crops that require less than 350 mm of water. Hence they are best crops for dry regions and ensure food, fodder and nutritional security. At the same time, they provide profitable livelihoods.  –NSS

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