‘Millet production needs government intervention to remain organic’

As more and more people are opting for millets, which have traditionally been a crop grown in poor soil and natural two-rain cycles on smaller lands.

Published: 11th February 2019 09:17 AM  |   Last Updated: 11th February 2019 09:17 AM   |  A+A-

People visiting the stalls on final day of Women of India Organic Festival, held in Hyderabad on Sunday | R Satish Babu

By Express News Service

HYDERABAD: An increasing number of women farmers and experts in organic farming say that there must be more intervention from the government to ensure that millet production remains organic in the truest sense considering its rising demand.

As more and more people are opting for millets, which have traditionally been a crop grown in poor soil and natural two-rain cycles on smaller lands. “Millets are grown in tribal belts and rural areas with no access to irrigation. If this boom in millet demand can become profitable for them, there must be incentivisation of their traditional ways, instead of a forcing down of another resource-intensive technique,” noted K Krishna Veni, Convenor of All India Millet Sisters Network.

At present, many farmers grow millets only as per the two-rain cycle without depending on irrigation facilities, which produces only enough to cater for their personal families and local markets. They follow a bio-diverse production model where multiple varieties are grown together instead of mono-cropping where only one millet is promoted. “There are very few players who contact local small-time farmers and acquire various varieties.

They have their traditional organic knowledge but no market, so we need to encourage entrepreneurs to reach out to them too,” noted Ashwanth Goud, an organic produce entrepreneur.  The experts note that there is a need to promote a sustainable method of millet production before they go the way of rice and paddy crops. “We do not need inconsistent policies like what some neighbouring states have adopted,” said Veni.

Kavitha promises to take up issue with KCR

Promising to take up the cause of organic farming with the CM, Nizamabad MP, K Kavitha on Sunday stated that there was a need to further incentivise organic farming for the marginal and small farmer, especially the women farmers in the State. She was speaking at 7th edition of ‘Women of India Organic Festival’ which was held for the first time in South India. “Adulteration and excessive use of chemicals is a grave issue. I urge the GoI to incentivise organic farming a lot more, because it is not reaching the marginal farmers,” she said. 

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