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"I support organic farming and traditional seed conservation activities of Sahaja" Ramesh Bhat, Popular actor, Kannada Film Industry
 
"Organic foods are best for our health"
V. Manohar, Famous Music Director, Kannada Film Industry

 

Millets, Future of Food & Farming

Millets are amazing in their nutrition content. Each of the millets is three to five times nutritionally superior to the widely promoted rice and wheat in terms of proteins, minerals and vitamins.

Nutrient Content of Millets
Crop / Nutrient      Protein(g)      Fiber(g)      Minerals(g)      Iron(mg)      Calcium(mg)
  Pearl millet              10.6              1.3               2.3                16.9                 38
  Finger millet              7.3               3.6              2.7                  3.9                344
  Foxtail millet            12.3                8               3.3                  2.8                  31
  Proso millet             12.5              2.2              1.9                  0.8                  14
  Kodo millet              8.3                 9               2.6                  0.5                  27
  Little millet               7.7               7.6               1.5                  9.3                  17
  Barnyard millet       11.2             10.1              4.4                 15.2                 11
  Rice                         6.8               0.2              0.6                   0.7                 10
  Wheat                    11.8               1.2              1.5                   5.3                 41

Initiatives for revival and promotion of Millet diversity in Karnataka

Millet is one of the oldest foods known to humans and possibly the first cereal grain to be used for domestic purposes. Millet has been used in Africa and India as a staple food for thousands of years and it was grown as early as 2700 BC. In China where it was the prevalent grain before rice became the dominant staple. There is a mention in Bible that millets during those times were used to make bread. It is documented that the plant was also grown by the lake dwellers of Switzerland during the Stone Age.

Millets and rainfed agriculture Rainfed agriculture plays an important role in Indian economy, as 68 percent of total net sown area (136.8m.ha) comes under rainfed, spread over 177 districts. Rainfed crops account for 48 percent area of food crops and 68 percent area of non-food crops. Nearly 50 percent of the total rural workforce and 60 percent of livestock in the country are concentrated in the dry districts.

Karnataka has the highest proportion of drought prone area among all major states in the country and is the second largest area of dryland in the country after Rajasthan. The land resources of Karnataka especially its dry drought prone lands that comprises more than 79% of the total arable area, have been poorly managed by the resource poor farmers of the state. The total irrigation potential from all sources, including inter basin transfers, is estimated at around 50 % of the total cropped area of 104.89 lakh hectares by the Karnataka state land use board. The remaining land has to depend on rain fed farming forever.

Reasons for losing the millet diversity
1. Introduction of HYV's
2. Shift from cultivating traditional millets to maize and sunflower
3. Processing problem
4. Changing Food habits
5. Lack of market support
6. Departments and scientists Neglected millets and lack of promotional activity
7. Irratic rainfall
8. Lack of value addition

Sahaja Initiative
Goal
Popularization of millet based multicropping system in rainfed areas of Karnataka

Objectives
- Documentation and on-farm experimentation of millet based multicropping systems
- To develop human institutions with skills by providing technical support on Millet production systems
- Sensitizing media to provide publicity for millet culture
- To facilitate procurement, marketing and sale of organic millet

Conservation

 

Millet diversity mapping of Karnataka

Together with 30 other organizations including consumer and farmer groups, Sahaja Samrudha has built a movement that today includes 200 rice-conservers from 20 districts, conserving more than 68 varieties of minor and major millet diversity.

Through an attempt to coordinate the "Millet network of India", we intend to reach out to like-minded people - from farmers to consumers, policy makers to media and scientists to students - in the struggle to save millet systems. We invite you all to be a part of the network and work together for rejuvenating millet heritage for our future.

 

 

Know more in 'Millet in your meals' publication
Millet Leaflet in kannada- Leaflet

Articles
Hungry India can depend on millets
Millets, the answer to the India's food security: say food scientists

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