Jammu- The Jammu and Kashmir administration has set a target to revive the cultivation of traditional millet crops on 8,000 hectares of land in the Union Territory.
The process will begin by providing seeds of seven varieties of millets to the farmers with 100 per cent subsidy in 10 districts of Jammu region.
The administration in February this year also approved a Rs 15-crore project to prop up nutri cereals, besides promoting and enhancing millets production and consumption in the Union Territory.
The project aims to revive traditional millet growing in around 8,000 hectares of land and double the productivity per-hectare from 10 to 20 quintals, the officials said.
The project, to be implemented over a period of three years, aims to promote cultivation of millets, increase their value addition and generate entrepreneurship opportunities for farmers, additional chief secretary at Agriculture Production Department Atal Dulloo said.
As part of the project, the agriculture department has earmarked an area of 1,400 hectares for growing millets and farmers are being provided seeds with 100 per cent subsidy.
“The year 2023 is the international year of millets. In Jammu division, the agriculture department has earmarked 1,400 hectares for the production of millets. We have seven different varieties of millets. We are going to provide seeds to farmers on 100 per cent subsidy around 10 districts of Jammu division,” Joint Director, Agriculture(Input), A S Reen told PTI.
He said these seeds are water-resilient and good for wetlands (Kandi land). “We have selected the areas and will distribute the seeds to farmers soon. It is a high-value crop and its export demand is very high,” he said.
Reen said that if a farmer wants to start a small processing plant, the government is providing Rs 4 lakh to Rs 5.25 lakh subsidy.
“We are also promoting Millet restaurants and providing Rs 2 lakh subsidy to them for introducing millet-based food,” he said.
Millets are known as the “miracle grains” or “crops of the future” due to their resilience to climate change. They can grow in drought-prone areas and do not require large amount of water or external inputs, making them an ideal crop for small scale farmers in Jammu and Kashmir, the officials said.
The Centre is actively promoting the cultivation, processing and marketing of millets and in the past declared 2018 as the ‘National Year of Millets’.
The United Nations General Assembly, following a request from the Indian government, has declared 2023 as the ‘International Year of Millets’ to raise awareness about the health benefits and sustainable production and consumption of millets.
Dulloo said the government is also focusing on creating awareness about millets among the farming community.
“Despite growing awareness and popularity of millets, their production and consumption is still limited and there are several challenges that need to be addressed. One of the significant challenges is the lack of awareness and knowledge about millets among farmers and consumers,” Dulloo said. (PTI)