BENGALURU: Cultivation of a few varieties of millets has gone up nearly two times in Karnataka this year, said minister for agriculture, Krishna Byre Gowda. Speaking at the curtain raiser event for the International Trade Fair- Organic and Millets in the City on Monday, Byre Gowda said that millets, including Same, Navane, Baragu and Oodhalu were earlier cultivated in 25,000 hectares. This year, the cultivation area has increased to 40,000 hectares. The three-day fest will be held in Bengaluru from January 19.
“Ragi, white corn and Sajje (pearl millet) has been cultivated in 18 lakh hectares this year, marking 10-15 per cent rise in cultivation area. With increased production and consumption, Karnataka has emerged as the millet capital in the country,” Gowda added. Citing that there has been an increasing demand in Bengaluru for organic food and millets, the minister said that a City that saw 150 stores selling these products two years ago now has over 250 of them. “At least 50-60 stores have opened this year alone,” he added.
Gowda said that the produce has also been in great demand in the APMC yards, including Yeshwanthpur APMC yard. Karnataka is the pioneer in creating market awareness for millets, the minister added. Ahead of the three-day international fair, the state government is set to hold awareness drives regarding the use of millets in Delhi and Mumbai.
State seeks millets’ recognition at international platform
The state government, which was one of the participants in the annual conference organised by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, has proposed that the Organisation mark one year for the promotion of millets and call it the International Year for Millets. “We have been communicating with the Union government in this regard. We also want one day every year to be observed as the International Day of Millets,” said Gowda.