BENGALURU: These Covid times seem to have brought some positive impact on people. For, they are junking junk food and turning towards millets as they want to boost their immunity levels. Millets are gluten-free and rich in proteins, fibre and antioxidants. The increase in consumption has brought smiles to the farmers and more and more have been sowing millets.
This monsoon, sowing of millets has increased at least by 1.5 lakh hectares. It is expected to increase further by the end of September. Speaking to The New Indian Express, Agriculture Minister B C Patil said, “People have become more health conscious in these Covid times and there has been an increase in the consumption of millets.
This is one of the reasons why there is demand and that has turned into a boon to farmers who have increased the sowing area for millets.’’ Karnataka stands first in the country in terms of millet grains production. He said the State government was giving a subsidy of Rs 10,000 per hectare of millet sowing . Ramesh Chandra Lahoti , Chairman, APMC Committee, FKCCI, said millet consumption has been increasing. Earlier, in Yeshwantpur APMC, there were only two dealers for millets, that number has gone up to 12 in the last few months.
“This shows the demand has been increasing. People are switching to millets. These dealers are dealing with smaller quantities as of now. If the quality of millets increases, the quantity will also increase further,” he said. An employee of an organic store near Vijayanagar said that there has been an increase in demand for millets in the last few months.
“Earlier, people would shop with us occasionally, now they come regularly. People prefer organically grown millets like bajra, jowar and ragi as they have become more health conscious,’’ Mahesh, store keeper, said. Prof Rajegowda, former Registrar of University of Agriculture Sciences, said millets have come like a boon to farmers because the demand has increased now.
Also, millets require less water, he said. “In the past few decades, there has been a change in the rain pattern. While the amount of rain has reduced, distribution has become varied. This has reduced the moisture content but millets will not be affected. It is an assured crop for such conditions too. Millets are good for us as well as cattle,’’ he said.