Background: Realizing the importance of millets as a climate-smart and nutrition-rich crop, the government of Andhra Pradesh initiated a comprehensive revival program in the North Coastal areas and parts of Rayalaseema region.
- The program aimed to reintroduce millets as a sustainable and viable option for farming, particularly among tribal communities.
Objectives of the Plan
- Promote millet cultivation: Raise awareness among tribal communities about the nutritional value and ecological benefits of millet and encourage them to adopt millet cultivation as a sustainable farming practice.
- Improve food security and nutrition: Enhance food security and nutritional outcomes by reintroducing millets into the local food systems and diets of tribal communities.
- Empower tribal communities: Strengthen the socio-economic status of tribal communities by providing training, technical support, and market linkages for millet cultivation.
- Awareness campaigns and training: Extensive awareness campaigns were conducted to educate tribal communities about the benefits of millet cultivation.
- Training programs were organized to build their capacity in various aspects of millet farming, including land preparation, seed selection, organic farming practices, pest and disease management, and post-harvest techniques.
- Access to quality seeds: To ensure the availability of quality seeds, seed banks were established in collaboration with agricultural research institutions.
- Traditional seed varieties were collected and preserved to promote biodiversity and enable farmers to access diverse millet varieties suited to their specific agro-climatic conditions.
- Technical support and extension services: A team of agricultural extension officers and experts provided continuous technical support and guidance to tribal farmers throughout the cultivation process.
- Regular farm visits, demonstrations, and workshops were conducted to address their queries and challenges.
- Market linkages and value addition: Efforts were made to create direct market linkages for tribal farmers by establishing partnerships with local markets, government procurement agencies, and food processing industries.
- Additionally, training programs on value addition and product diversification were conducted to enable farmers to produce millet-based value-added products like millet flour, biscuits, and snacks.
Results and Impact
- Increased millet cultivation: The comprehensive revival program led to a significant increase in millet cultivation by tribal communities in the target areas.
- Many farmers shifted from mono-cropping to mixed cropping systems, integrating millets into their farming practices.
- Improved food security and nutrition: The reintroduction of millets in local food systems improved the nutritional status of tribal communities.
- Millets, being rich in fiber, protein, and essential micronutrients, contributed to diversified and healthier diets, reducing the prevalence of malnutrition.
- Socio-economic empowerment: Tribal farmers who embraced millet cultivation witnessed improved income opportunities.