Millets are one of the oldest food known to mankind.These are group of highly variable small-seeded grasses, widely grown around the world as cereal crops or grains for fodder and human food.
Types of millet: Sorghum (jowar), Pearl millet (bajra), Foxtail millet (kangni), Finger millet (ragi), Barnyard millet, Kodo millet, Little Millet, Proso Millet are amongst the healthiest millet grains available.
Nutritional value: They are good sources of proteins, carbohydrates, dietary fibre and essential amino acids.
Millets have 65% carbohydrates, 9% proteins, 3% fat, and 2-7% crude fibre.
They are rich in various vitamins such as vitamin A, C and B-complex vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, manganese, phosphorus and also iron.
Major producers include Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Haryana.
Significance: Release of 13 High Yielding varieties including 4 bio-fortified varieties of millets. declaring 2023 as International Year of Millets (IYOM).
This proposal of India was supported by 72 countries and United Nation’s General Assembly (UNGA) declared 2023 as International Year of Millets on 5th March,2021.
Millets are climate resilient crop as they can be grown in rainfed area and are resistant to climatic stress, pest and disease as well. So it plays major role in sustainable agriculture.
People possess a perception of millet being poor man food but owing to it’s nutritional value it is rich in dietary fibres, amino acid, calcium, zinc, folate and various nutrients. It can even be easily consumed by diabetic people as it possess low glycemic index. Nowadays, being consumed by many more people it helps to provide food security.
They even provide economic security to farmers growing millet in dry, low fertile, rainfed area as it requires less investment and involves less cost of cultivation.
Initiatives are taken by government to promote millet production by farmers as they promote sustainable agriculture as well as generate employment opportunities by promoting value addition of millets.