Better Environment – A Case for Millets

Konda Reddy, Ulac Demiragis, Bishow Parajuli – Food Day as Reminder to Leave No One Behind

Better Environment – A Case for Millets

  • Soil degradation by the excessive use of chemicals, non-judicious water use, and declining nutritional value of food products need urgent attention.
  • Millets are good for nutrition, health, and the planet.
  • As climate-smart crops, they are hardier than other cereals.
  • Since they need fewer inputs, they are less extractive for the soil and can revive soil health.
  • Additionally, their genetic diversity ensures that agro-biodiversity is preserved.

India’s Efforts for Millet Production

  • India has led the global conversation on reviving millet production for better lives, nutrition, and the environment.
  • India appealed at the UN General Assembly to declare 2023 as the International Year of Millets.
  • It is the world’s leading producer of millets, producing around 41% of total production in 2020.
  • The national government is also implementing a Sub-Mission on Nutri-Cereals (Millets) as part of the National Food Security Mission.
  • State-level missions in Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, and Andhra Pradesh are a testament to India’s resolve to revive these indigenous crops.

Millet conservation and promotion contribute to addressing food security, improved nutrition, and sustainable agriculture, which aligns with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) agenda. Millet production has been proven to enhance biodiversity and increase yields for smallholder farmers, including rural women. The International Fund for Agricultural Development’s (IFAD’s) Tejaswini programme with Madhya Pradesh showed that growing millets meant a nearly 10 times increase in income (₹1,800 per month in 2013-14 to ₹16,277 in 2020-21), with better food security because millet crops were not impacted by excessive rainfall.

Categories: POINT IAS

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