CHENNAI: Millet production, which forms a key part of foodgrain production in TN, is all set to go up significantly this year (2017-18) with encouraging information being received from across the State by the Agriculture department and also going by the forecasts of meteorological department that the monsoon this year would be normal.
“Millet production in Tamil Nadu was done in 9.457 lakh acres during 2016-17. During this year, as on October 16, cultivation is on in 13.665 lakh acres, and the cultivation area is expected to go up to 25 lakh acres by March, 2018 while production of millets is most likely to be around 42 lakh tonnes,” official sources said.
Millet production touched its peak in 2014-15 and this year, with all good signals from rain-fed areas and a favourable monsoon expected, the State is likely to register a production of around 42 lakh tonnes.
Sources further said the overall foodgrain production in the State (including paddy, millets and pulses), which stood at 60.37 lakh tonnes during last year is expected to double this year - up to 125 lakh tonnes.
Millets are generally cultivated in rain-fed areas.
Major millets such as sorghum, kambu, ragi, maize and other minor millets such as thinai, varagu, samai, kudiraivali etc., are cultivated in 7.54 lakh hectares with a normal production of 25 lakh tonnes. On the other measures being implemented for increasing millets and other grains, officials said the State government had embarked on an ambitious project - Mission on Sustainable Dryland Agriculture (MSDA) - that focuses on improving production and productivity of millets, pulses, oilseeds and cotton in around 25 lakh acre of dryland in a phased manner from 2016-17 to 2019-20, for which `802.90 crore has been sanctioned.
“A total of 1,000 dryland clusters of 1,000 hectare each in four years period will be formed under this project. During the first phase (2016-17), 200 dry land clusters were formed for the development of five lakh acre. In these areas, now sowing, ploughing and other preparatory works are going on. Similarly, this year, identification of another 400 clusters are on. Preparatory works for these areas will begin next year and meanwhile, the identification of rest of 400 clusters would also be completed,” officials said and pointed out that of the total areas covered under this project, one-fourth would go to millet production.