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Millets are ancient Super grains the reservoirs of nutrition for a better health. Millets (sorghum, pearl millet and small millets) are the important food and fodder crops in semi-arid regions, and are predominantly gaining more importance in a world that is increasingly becoming populous, malnourished and facing large climatic uncertainties. These crops are adapted to wide range of temperatures, moisture-regimes and input conditions supplying food and feed to millions of dryland farmers, particularly in the developing world. Besides they also form important raw material for potable alcohol and starch production in industrialized countries. Millets (great millet – Sorghum, pearl millet -Bajara, Finger millet – Ragi, Foxtail millet, Little millet, Proso millet, Barnyard millet and Kodo millet) are hardy and grow well in dry zones as rain-fed crops, under marginal conditions of soil fertility and moisture and are stable yielders.

Millets were indeed one of the oldest foods known to humans but they were discarded in favor of wheat and rice with urbanization and industrialization. Other millets that need we will also be focussing also are Brown top Millet, Teff, Fonio and Raishan- (Digitaria cruciata var.esculenta). With diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease running rampant, as gifts of newly acquired life-styles, millets have returned as a viable option to live healthy life without consuming loads of anti-diabetic and anti-hypertension medicines that are not only very expansive but also have serious side-effects in the long run. Indeed millets act as a prebiotic feeding micro-flora in our inner ecosystem. Millet will hydrate our colon to keep us from being constipated. The high levels of tryptophan in millet produce serotonin, which is calming to our moods. Magnesium in millet can help reduce the affects of migraines and heart attacks. Niacin (vitamin B3) in millet can help lower cholesterol. Millet consumption decreases Triglycerides and C-reactive protein, thereby preventing cardiovascular disease. All millet varieties show high antioxidant activity. Millet is gluten free and non allergenic.

 

Above all, Millet’s high protein content makes up for energy deficiency in vegetarian diet. Millets are the super foods for the present and future., their short growing season - from planted seeds to mature, ready to harvest plants in as little as 65 days – make them commercially sound. When properly stored, whole millets will keep for two or more years. The challenge is to food-process millet in to tasty and ready to eat foods like biscuits, noodles and pre baked roties and ofcourse as Ready to eat and Ready to cook novel foods. Indian Institute of Millets Research is working in that diorection to fetch better income to the Millet growers. In order to keep up the momentum and the sustainability of commercialization process, Entrepreneurship development of the stakeholders is necessitated through interventions in food processing and product development and nutritional evaluation. Creating sustainable value chain has been one of the greatest challenges for the social scientists and research institutions at large. Therefore the ultimate goal of entrepreneurship development programmes is to disseminate thorough knowledge of post-harvest management which includes linkage of farmers with market, processing, nutritional importance of sorghum, and marketing. The stakeholders were trained who includes progressive farmers, rural entrepreneurs, NGOs, SHGs, small and medium scale processors, women group entrepreneurs on topics such as Nutritional importance of sorghum and millets, Post Harvest Technologies of Sorghum/ Millets, and Branding, Packaging and labelling. Similarly, another two projects under NAIP value chain mode were attempted by UAS, Dharwad and Raipur to study on small millets. These project’s successful stories may be available as a model for integrated approach for millets promotion across the country. The INSIMP, a Government of India’s scheme on millets promotion is an offshoot of policy sensitization of the efforts of IIMR led consortium which is now operating across the country for the third year. Three production scenarios for sorghum and other millets are envisioned below based on possible options/situations for working out estimates for long term planning. This would help in strategizing the research priorities in the context of changing scenarios.

 

Scenario – I: is existing situation with current levels of area, production and productivity which forms the bench mark for measuring likely improvement in respective parameters.

Scenario – II: deals with optimistic estimates with two assumptions. Firstly, current sorghum, pearl millet and small millets acreage will be retained. Secondly, there is going to be increase in productivity levels due to higher coverage of HYVs.
Scenario – III: assumes that the area under sorghum, pearl millet and small millets will impact positively due to favourable governmental policy (in the form of support for production, processing and value addition).

 

Government policy is bound to be in favour of support for promotion of sorghum/millets due to increasing population growth rate and unmet demand for food consumption by the rice and wheat. Thus, it is expected that the Government policies are going to be strengthened for millet promotion during different plan periods. Further, it is expected that creation of awareness is being given more importance so as to generate consumption demand owing to nutritional merits of sorghum, pearl millet and small millets. The increasing incidence of lifestyle diseases which are linked with relatively poor nutritive composition of fine cereals especially rice, the promotion of nutri-cereals such as sorghum will be more pronounced owing to their superior composition of nutrients and minerals. It is also expected that millets as health food is being included in PDS which may gain some area under sorghum, pearl millet and small millets.

 

Overall, at least 88% increase in millet acreage over the current levels is expected to be attained by 2050 AD if policy push and demand creation trend is going to be continued, even otherwise with current acreage if continued with more productivity enhancement through R&D is in place the increase in production will be doubled Accordingly, the estimated production in sorghum with policy push and R&D enhancement will be 35.0 million tonnes, of which rabi production contribution alone will be 68% of total production. Similarly 37.50 million tonnes in pearl millet continue to top, 10.0 tonnes in finger millet, 3.0 million tonnes in other small millets with overall aggregate production of 85.50 million tonnes of sorghum, pearl millet and small millets put together by the end of 2050 AD. Area gains in favour sorghum, pearl millet and small millet may come from other crops which are less remunerative (sorghum, pearl millet and small millet demand is going to higher due to value addition for food and non food uses and due to their importance as functional health foods) and from areas where commercial crops like sugarcane cannot be continued due to lowering of water table making it difficult for them while it still favours sorghum, pearl millet and small millets which with minimal Irrigations will help to double the yields. Even from non-traditional rice-fallow areas as second crop. Another area that has not been taken into account at all is area under multicut fodder sorghum. The present acreage under multicut fodder sorghum is one lakh hectares. The seed yield productivity is 15 quintals per acre. Thus a total of 37, 50,000 quintals of seed is produced, which @ 20 kg per hectare as seed rate will crop 18.7 million hectares area under multicut fodder sorghum. The 6-7 cuts from each hectares yield 92 tonnes of green fodder to the farmer. With the policy push and ever increasing demand for fodder required by domestic and dairy industry suggests that with improvement in yields and commensurate with demand, the fodder sorghum area by 2050 will be 27.0 million hectares. Sweet sorghum if policy push through blending of ethanol with petrol is implemented with remunerative pricing on par with petrol, the area under sweet sorghum will capture 1.0 million hectares by 2050 AD across the country and will supplement the sugarcane molasses based ethanol for blending with petrol. It can be inferred from above that the maximum production gains will be attained through policy interventions as in scenario III for millets to the extent of more than 400% over the current situation. Such gains will enable meeting both food and nutritional security of millions. Thus productivity improvement may be within the realms of reality in the near future. Different genotypes suited to different growing conditions may be essential to bring in all-round increase in productivity. The economic gains that may be augmented by addressing envisaged benchmarks will result in significant improvement in productivity, profitability and even export earnings. All these are expected to translate sorghum and millets farming into a healthy and prosperous proposition, justifying the public support for sorghum and millets research in the country.

Millets cultivation and production: Projection up to 2050 AD


SORGHUM

Ecology of production area

Scenario I

Scenario II

Scenario III

Area
(m ha)

Yield (Kg/ha)

Production
(m t)

Area  (m ha)

Yield (Kg/ha)

Production (mt)

Area (m ha)

Yield (Kg/ ha)

Production (m t)

GRAIN SORHUM

Kharif

Assured Rainfall area

1.32

1378

1.82

1.32

3000

3.96

2.00

3000

7.00

Non-assured Rainfall area

1.99

718

1.43

1.99

1500

2.99

3.00

1500

4.50

Kharif-Total

3.31

1048

3.25

3.31

2750

6.95

5.00

2750

11.50

Rabi

Rainfed Area

3.51

616

2.65

3.51

1500

5.27

5.0

1500

7.50

Irrigated area

0.87

1597

1.39

0.87

4000

3.48

4.0

4000

16.00

Rabi-Total

4.38

1106

4.04

4.38

2750

8.75

9.0

2750

23.50

Grain Sorghum-Total

7.69

1077

7.29

7.69

2750

15.70

14.0

2750

35.00

Pearl Millet

Kharif, Rabi and Summer

9.00

1214

10.92

9.00

2500

22.50

15.0

2500

37.50

Finger Millet

Kharif, Rabi and Summer

1.11

1428

1.59

1.11

2500

2.78

4.0

2500

10.00

Other Millets

Kharif, Rabi and Summer

0.75

750

0.43

0.75

1500

1.13

2.0

1500

3.00

Total Millets-Grand Total

18.55

1117

20.23

18.55

2400

42.11

35.0

2400

85.50

 

Multicut Fodder Sorghum

Ecology of production area

Area
(m ha)

Green fodder Yield (tonnes/ha)

Production
(000 m t)

Area  (m ha)

Green fodder Yield (tonnes/ha)

Production (000 m t)

Area (m ha)

Green fodder Yield (tonnes/ha)

Production (000 m t)

Kharif, Rabi and Summer

18.70

92.0

17.20

18.70

100

18.70

27.0

110

29.70

SWEET STALK SORGHUM

Ecology of production area

Area
(m ha)

Green cane Yield (tonnes/ha)

Production
(000 m t)

Area  (m ha)

Green cane Yield (tonnes/ha)

Production (000 m t)

Area (m ha)

Green cane Yield (tonnes/ha)

Production (000 m t)

Kharif/ Rabi / Summer

-

-

-

-

-

-

1.0

150

6.67

Source: Estimates worked out for Vision document 2050, IIMR, Hyderabad 2014

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Updated on 5 Oct 2017| Disclaimer | Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) - Indian Institute of Millets Research (IIMR).