Low External Input Sustainable Agriculture

December 2017 – Millet farming systems – Last date 25th Oct 2017

Millets are crops that can grow in hardy conditions and are highly nutritious.  They can grow in poor soils.  They have the capacity to tolerate higher heat conditions. They do not need irrigation, need less water, therefore can be grown in low rainfall conditions. All these qualities make them an ideal choice under the changing climatic conditions. Moreover,  millet farming promotes agro biodiversity naturally, as millets are always grown in combination with other crops. Despite the multiple advantages they offer,  they are lost in our food systems. This is due to overemphasis on promotion of few select food crops like paddy and wheat;  changed food choices; shifting in traditional areas of millet cultivation to other crops including irrigated food and cash crops.

There is a revival of interest in millet cultivation by farmers as these crops are naturally resilient to climatic aberrations and growing urban interest for nutritious foods.  There are increasing efforts to encourage value addition and popularize millet food products that are in tune with the changing tastes, especially of youngsters. There are also initiatives that not only spread awareness about millets but also provide platforms for rural urban exchanges. Cuisines from millets have become a new trend. Increased efforts are being made by various agencies for reviving millet cultivation. A lot more needs to be done.

In the December issue of LEISA India, we would like to look at all these changing trends towards bringing back millets into our food systems. We would like to know how farmers growing different types of millets experience benefits to their livelihoods as well as well being. Are farmers food secure by shifting to millet farming? How are millets entering into food distribution systems as nutritious alternatives? What are the types of value addition initiatives being promoted ? How are the millet markets evolving? What is the role of women in the entire production-value chain and what are the challenges being faced? How is the research and policy, creating enabling environment for promotion of millets?

Kindly send your articles to the Editors at leisaindia@yahoo.co.in before 25th October 2017.