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Millets in India, Benefits,Types and List

Types of Millets

Millets is used to describe small-grained cereals like sorghum (jowar), pearl millet (bajra), foxtail millet (kangni/ Italian millet), little millet (kutki), kodo millet, finger millet (ragi/ mandua), proso millet (cheena/ common millet), barnyard millet (sawa/ sanwa/ jhangora), and brown top millet (korale). They require much less water than rice and wheat, and are mainly grown in rainfed areas.

Historical Background: They were among the first crops to be domesticated. There is evidence for consumption of millets by the Indus valley people (3,000 BC), and several varieties that are now grown around the world were first cultivated in India. West Africa, China, and Japan are home to indigenous varieties of the crop.


Benefits of Millets

Power-houses Of Nutrition: Millets contain 7-12% protein, 2-5% fat, 65-75% carbohydrates and 15-20% dietary fibre. They are gluten-free and non-allergic. Millets reduce anemia, liver disorders, and asthma.Their high dietary fibre provides hunger satisfaction and helps reduce obesity and the risk of Type II Diabetes.

Millets provide an alternative food system in times of increasing demand for vegetarian foods. Millets contribute to a balanced diet as well as a safe environment.

Global Production: Millets are now grown in more than 130 countries, and are the traditional food for more than half a billion people in Asia and Africa. Globally, sorghum (jowar) is the biggest millet crop. The major producers of jowar are the United States, China, Australia, India, Argentina, Nigeria, and Sudan. Bajra is another major millet crop; India and some African countries are major producers.


Millets in India Production

In India, millets are mainly a kharif crop. Production: According to the fourth advance estimates for the year 2021-22, about 16 million tonnes millets have been produced in India, which is about 5 percent of the national food grain basket. Bajra has the highest market share of 9.62 million tonnes, followed by jowar with a production of 4.23 million tonnes. Ragi is an important millet, which contributes to the production of 1.70 million tonnes and the production of other millets is 0.37 million tonnes.

  • MSP for Millets: The government declares a Minimum Support Price (MSP) for jowar, bajra, and ragi only.
  • Target of Procurement:
    • The government has set a target to procure 13.72 LMT coarse grains during the Kharif Marketing Season (KMS) 2022-23, more than double procured during KMS 2021-22.


List of Millets States

  • Main Millets States: Jowar is mainly grown in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, and Madhya Pradesh.
    • Maharashtra accounted for the largest area of jowar during 2020-21.
    • Bajra is mainly grown in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka.
    • Rajasthan produced the most bajra in the country in 2020-21.
  • Consumption Patterns:
    • In the latest available NSSO household consumption expenditure survey, less than 10 per cent of rural and urban households reported consumption of millets.
    • State-wise: Gujarat (jowar and bajra), Karnataka (jowar and ragi), Maharashtra (jowar and bajra), Rajasthan (bajra), and Uttarakhand (ragi).


Steps to Promote Millet in India

  • Agriculture Ministry declared millets as “Nutri Cereals”:
    • Jowar, bajra, rag, the minor millets — kangani, cheena, kodo, sawa, and kutki — and the two pseudo millets, buckwheat (kuttu) and amaranth (chaulai), are now regarded as “Nutri Cereals” for the purposes of production, consumption, and trade.
  • Millets under PDS:
    • Under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) 2013, eligible households are entitled to get rice, wheat, and coarse grain at Rs 3, Rs 2, and Re 1 per kg respectively.
    • There is a need to shift the focus of distribution programs from basic calories to provide a more diverse food basket to improve the nutritional status of pre-school children and women of reproductive age.
  • NFSM: Under the National Food Security Mission (NFSM), nutritious cereal component for Millets is being implemented in 212 districts of 14 States.
  • POSHAN Mission: Millet has also been included under POSHAN Mission campaign.
  • Start-Ups: India has more than 500 start-ups in millet value additional food chain. The government’s Indian Institute of Millets Research has incubated 250 startups.
    • More than 66 start-ups have been given funds of Rs 62.3 million, while five startups have been approved for further funding.


International Year of Millets (IYOM) 2023

  • On March 3, 2021, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted a resolution to declare 2023 as the International Year of Millets.
    • The proposal was moved by India, and was supported by 72 countries.
  • Political significance: Millet is grown mainly in low-income and developing countries in Asia and Africa, and are part of the food basket of about 60 crore people across the globe.
    • By proposing the resolution to celebrate 2023 as the International Year of Millets, India pitched itself as a leader of this group.
    • This is similar to the Indian initiative on the 121-nation International Solar Alliance.
  • IYOM will provide an opportunity to increase global production, efficient processing and better use of crop rotation and promote millets as a major component of the food basket.

UPSC Mains Result 2022


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