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Dindori Project

Dindori Project

Why in news?

  • MP’s Dindori project shows the way forward for India as Millets pose production and consumption challenges towards achieving the food and nutritional security goals.

About Dindori Project

  • This initiative is basically started to revive millet cultivation in india and to meet the national nutritional goals
  • An initiative was started in 2013-14 in dindori district of Madhya Pradesh.
  • It was supported by International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
  • The project began with about 1500 women-farmers, mostly from the Gonda and Baiga tribes¸ growing these two minor millets (Kodo and Kutki).
  • The identified farmers were supplied good-quality seeds and trained by scientists on field preparation, line-sowing (as opposed to conventional broadcasting by hand) and application of compost, zinc, bavistin fungicide and other specific plant protection chemicals.    Dindori Project
  • A federation of the farmers’ self-help groups undertook procurement of the produce and also its mechanical de-hulling (the traditional manual pounding process to remove husk from the grain was time-consuming).

Advantages Of Promoting Millets

  • Millets can help tackle lifestyle problems and health challenges such as obesity and diabetes as they are gluten-free and have a low glycemic index (a relative ranking of carbohydrates in foods according to how they affect blood glucose levels).
  • Millets are less expensive and nutritionally superior to wheat & rice owing to their high protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals like iron content.
  • Millets are also rich in calcium and magnesium.
  • Its high iron content can fight high prevalence of anaemia in Indian women of reproductive age and infants.
  • They are also harder and drought-resistant crops, which has to do with their short growing season (70-100 days, as against 120-150 days for paddy/wheat) and lower water requirement (350-500 mm versus 600-1,200 mm).
  • As low investment is needed for production of millets, these can prove to be a sustainable income source for farmers.

Millets in India

  • Jowar (sorghum), bajra (pearl millet) and ragi (finger millet) are the three major millet crops currently grown in India.
  • Kodo, kutki, chenna and sanwa are bio-genetically diverse and indigenous varieties of “small millets”.
  • Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Haryana are the major producers of Millets.

Regional Millets in India

  • Barnyard Millet is a high source of iron and fibre. It is known as Kuthiravali in Tamil, Oodhalu in Kannada, Odalu in Telugu, Kavadapullu in Malayalam and Sanwa in Hindi.
  • Finger Millet is a staple that is a very good substitute for oats and cereals. It is known as Ragi in Kannada, Ragulu in Telugu, Kelvaragu in Tamil, Koovarugu in Malayalam and Mundua in Hindi.
  • Foxtail Millet is rich in minerals and vitamins. It is known as Thinai in Tamil, Kirra in Telugu, Thinna in Malayalam, Navane in Kannada and Kangni in Hindi.
  • Little Millet is also loaded with iron and fibre, the regional names are Chama in Malayalam, Same in Kannada, Samai in Tamil, Sama in Telugu and Kutki in Hindi.
  • Proso Millet is known as Barri in Hindi, Panivaragu in Tamil & Malayalam, in Kannada it is called Baragu and Varigalu in Telugu.  Dindori Project
  • Pearl Millet is a high source of proteins, it is known as Bajra in Hindi, Sajje in Kannada, Sajjalu in Telugu, Kambu in Tamil and Kambam in Malayalam

Government Initiatives To Promote Millits Production

  • The government has increased the Minimum Support Price (MSP) of Millets and also included millets in the public distribution system.  Dindori Project
  • The Union Agriculture Ministry, in April 2018, declared millets as “Nutri-Cereals”, considering their “high nutritive value” and also “anti-diabetic properties”.
  • The government has introduced provision of seed kits and inputs to farmers, building value chains through Farmer Producer Organizations and supporting the marketability of millets.
  • The United Nation General Assembly adopted an India-sponsored resolution to mark 2023 as the International Year of Millets. 2018 was also observed as ‘National Year of Millets”.

Way forward

  • Changing the Narrative: There is a need to change the general perception around consumption and trade point of view associated with millets and to re-brand coarse cereals/millets as nutri-cereals.
  • Further, civil society can begin the jan andolan by taking small steps towards choosing healthier foods, which are good for the environment and bring economic prosperity to our farmers.
  • MSP on Lines of Wheat and Rice: Government can try on a pilot basis for providing MSP to millets on the lines of Wheat and rice (state guarantee of procurement at MSP.).
  • Mission Mode Initiative: The government can encourage farmers to align their local cropping patterns to India’s diverse 127 agro-climatic zones and promote cultivation of millets with local topography and natural resources.
  • Inter-Ministerial Approach: There is a requirement of a multi-ministerial policy framework that is aimed towards building an Atma Nirbhar Bharat and resonates with the global call for self-sufficiency and sustainable development.  Dindori Project

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