Centre urged to include millets in food security Act

Written by fe Bureaus | Hyderabad | Updated: Aug 22 2009, 04:42am hrs
In a move to ease the soaring prices of pulses, the Millet Network of India (MINI) has urged the central government to include millets into the National Food Security Act in the backdrop of the unprecedented drought and looming climate change crisis.

Millet-based biodiverse cropping systems can come as a solution to this agrarian crisis as it liberates farming from water intensive cropping such as rich or wheat to a nature commodity controlled farming system. According to P V Satheesh, Convenor, Millet Network of India, millet farming systems offer food security apart from fodder, health and nutritional security. "We are persuading the Centre to allocate at least 40% of its food security budget to millet-based farming and food systems," he said.

In the process, we are trying to create `parliamentarians of millets' with participation from the policy makers, NGOs and other stake holders. Millets are drought-resistance crops and can withstand higher heat regimes.

Further, they can survive under less rainfall regime than many other crops such as rice or sugarcane. It is learnt that minor millets such as sorghum, pearl millet, finger millet, foxtail millet, etc can grow without irrigation and are nutritious than rice.

Millets are climate change compliant crops and many of these crops can fix carbon into the soils thereby becoming agents of carbon.

In a memorandum submitted to the Andhra Pradesh government, MINI has also requesting the Centre to put millets into the public distribution system in phases so as to create a huge market for millet farmers acting more as a incentive.