Millets: The future crop of India

Millets: The future crop of India

Author:- Deepansh Shukla

Millet is not a new crop instead some of the millet crops trace its origin back to 10000 BCE meanwhile some came into use in 1000- 2000 BCE in China and Asia. Millets are a group of highly variable small-seeded crops. They are widely known as cereal crops in the world. There are major five known types of millets- Pearl Millet(Bajra), Proso Millet, Sorghum Millet(Jowar), Finger Millet(Ragi), Barnyard Millet. After the end of the ‘Cold War in 1991’ Capitalistic and Neo-Liberal ideas of Economics dominates the market. The capitalistic world has given birth to a fast-paced ‘Corporate Life’ which usually is a 9 to 5 job and unconventional working ways are also originating. So we can say in the populous world none of us follows the same routine even after working in the same office, if we talk about schools and colleges, they too have their timings which do not match each other, this has created a complex ‘Family Structure’. Many still depend on homemakers to cook food and arrange other necessities required in a household. Still, when a mother is engaged in jobs, It becomes difficult to handle the family; hence they depend on household labors to create goods and services for them. Usually, laborers have to provide services in a short period, which means they have to cook something which does not consume much time but is highly nutritious and provides energy to work effectively for long hours.

Millets are the crops that will work correctly with the current economic system of India. The corporate world has generated a growing food business in the country, and the youth is moving towards the consumption of junk food. India is an ‘Agrarian Economy’ with 60-70% of India’s population still dependent directly or indirectly on agriculture for survival. India has a population of around 1.32 Billion people and more than 700 million people working in the agriculture sector. Quality of soil is badly degrading, as per the ‘IMRD Report pressure on India’s soil, air and water will be the highest in the world so will the production of ‘rice’ and ‘wheat’ will be easy? Of course not! So what can be the solution?

Millets, Proso Millet, is a minor agricultural crop of India and can grow in a short duration(60-90 Days) and is susceptible to high temperatures and that is the reason it is mainly cultivated, in India China, Mongolia, and other Asian countries. Moreover, it requires low rainfall or water to grow. India is prone to droughts and floods, mainly due to ‘Climate Change’ and India even after 70 years lacks the infrastructure to provide farmers with an adequate water supply. In turn, it leads to an impact on the economy and poverty. Farmers fall into debts and end up losing even a single penny and later increases suicide rates, proso millets save farmers from this vicious crisis and will also help fields to replenish nutrients protecting soil from degradation. Proso millet can be grown in kharif and rabi seasons hence is a good option, As we know ‘Depression and Anxiety’ are an integral part, and proso millets are rich in ‘Lecithin’ which supports the neural health system. It is rich in Vitamins(Niacin, B complex). It is also rich in Minerals(P, Ca, Zn, Fe) which balances the neural system. Hence protects both the farmers and consumers.

Jowar is widely produced in India and can be used, as an alternative flour to maida. Maida which is wide use to cook delicious foods like-noodles, bhature. The main problem with widely used Maida is that it is processed, refined and bleached which in turn makes it harmful for our daily consumption and is related to obesity and constipation making it a wrong choice for ‘Students. Those who work and old aged people consisting of a major chunk of the population and are still consumed, jowar is rich in protein, iron, copper and is fibrous, which makes it the best alternative. 5% of India’s population suffers from diabetes and 100 million in the USA. Another fact that almost 40% of the US population are ‘Obese’. Obesity and Diabetes and directly linked to each other and they both are related to heart attack and deaths making jowar highly valuable.

If India focuses on the growth of Jowar and its storage, we can keep on dominating the international market in agriculture, keeping China below us. If it is adopted can protect Indians from health issues and keep the economy on growing track meanwhile growth of Jowar is widely suited to Indian conditions. It will help in reducing obesity and will make human resources more useful; it will become part of the ‘Human Development Index’ as it will reduce obesity as it is known to contribute to weight loss. Now let us move on to discuss ‘Foxtail Millets’ which is the second most grown millets in India. 

According to ICMR,- The mortality rate between 2012-2014 was 6% due to cancer. Foxtail millet is known to cure cancer hence has properties to treat patients in the early stages. Diet is an essential step in protecting people from diseases. If Millets are made necessary in the Indian Diet, we can reduce the mortality rate and is also acts as an ‘Anti-Oxidant’. Cancer is increasing due to increases in greenhouse gas emission. So if we cannot reduce pollution at a fast pace switching to a better diet is the best option. Anti-oxidants build immunity, and if we have high immunity. The rate of corona’s spread could be lower. India sees an increase in vehicles, and this increases the probability of accidents happening in India. Over 1.50 Lakhs of people died in a road accident—many cases of fracture. 

Foxtail Millets are high on calcium which means will protect bones from fracture increasing chances of survival in a major road accident. These millets are easy to cook that means will also save valuable time for those in a ‘Corporate World’. The 12th plan of GOI,-8% increase in production of millets has been demanded, as they have recognized the importance of millets in the food chain. Govt. understands the need for nutritional growth of India as we have the highest numbers of ‘Malnourished’ children and has launched three significant policies-

  • Initiative for Nutritional Security through Intensive Millets Promotion (INSIMP) – a part of Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) which is the only comprehensive initiative to support millet production.
  • Rainfed Area Development Programme (RADP) – a component of the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY); and 
  • Integrated Cereals Development Programmes in Coarse Cereals based Cropping Systems Areas (ICDP-CC) under Macro Management of Agriculture (MMA).

(Source-PIB.GOVT.IN)

India is prosperous in fulfilling the needs of the ‘Paris Agreement’ as we are successful in reducing CO2 emission and the primary reason which is yet not understood by the people in the growth of “millets” in India. Stubble burning and growth of crops like wheat contributes to the production of CO2 gases which is reducing significantly.

To conclude Millets as a crop is bringing multiple benefits for India and the world. Millets protect the environment; Millets provide all the necessary Proteins, Vitamins, Oxidants making it essential for healthy human life. Furthermore, they are easy to cook, which makes it an essential part of actively working individuals in the corporate world. It means it will link the two most important sectors of the economy, employing more than 70% of India’s workforce, and that indicates economic growth with at least a reduced rate of pollution. Millets are widely available and should not be ignored.

“Millet is a life-supporting crop not given amount of importance it truly deserves.”

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