New Delhi: Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Thursday urged small and marginal farmers to grow more millets, which can help address malnutrition in India and the world. Millets like ragi and jowar are grown with less water but have high nutrition. However, these miracle cereals were kept out thinking it was poor man’s food, he said.
In his inaugural address at the annual ‘Krishi Vigyan Mela’ here at Pusa campus in the national capital, Mr. Tomar said millets are grown by small and marginal farmers, and not by big farmers. Amid the problem of malnutrition and challenges of climate change, India took the lead and the current year is being celebrated as the international year of millets across the world, he added.
According to Mr. Tomar, millets are not only high in nutrition but also fetch good price for farmers, and it will be good for small and marginal farmers, who comprise 80 per cent of the total farming community in India.
We are eating well but not nutrition rich food. There is a problem of malnutrition not only in India but in many parts of the world. We can address the malnutrition problem by growing more millets, Mr. Tomar noted.
India is a major millet producing nation. If huge demand is created for millets and millets-based products, income of small and marginal farmers can be enhanced, he said, and added the government is making efforts to create the market for millets and encourage value-addition. To brand them beyond ‘poor man’s food’, the government took a cautious decision of naming eight types of millets as “Sree Anna”, indicative of having better nutrition than wheat and rice, he said.
For export of Indian millets, the minister said the government plans to facilitate participation of exporters, farmers and traders in 16 International Trade Expos and Buyer-Seller Meets (BSMs). Mr. Tomar also said that climate change and growing population is a challenge before all countries.
Indian scientists have developed climate resilient seed varieties. Still, climate change impact would be there and farmers need to continue working, accepting these challenges to ensure food security, he added.
In the ‘Krishi Vigyan Mela’, more than 200 stalls have been set up this year. Minister of State for Agriculture Kailash Choudhary, ICAR Director General Himanshu Pathak and IARI Director A K Singh were among the dignitaries present at the event.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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