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Punjab Agriculture Dept Planning to Sow Millets on 5000 acres

The Agriculture Department in Punjab has decided to increase the area under millets from 2,500 acres to 5,000 acres as the Centre celebrates 2023 as the International Year of Millets.

Shivam Dwivedi
Millets need less water to grow and can be grown on less fertile land
Millets need less water to grow and can be grown on less fertile land

Millets were grown on 2,500 acres in the state last year, according to official data. Meeting the target, on the other hand, appears to be a significant challenge. The main challenge to meeting the target is a lack of millet processing units in Punjab, as per a Punjab farmer.

"The government should first concentrate on areas where processing units are already operational. Sowing machines must be improved," he said. Farmers must receive proper millet farming training. Agriculture Department sources said they were awaiting funds from the Centre Government. According to the sources, once they receive funds, a government-run millet processing unit will be established for farmers.

The department is providing seed to farmers through the National Seed Corporation and other sources in order to bring more land under millets cultivation. The state's Chief Agriculture Officers have been directed to promote millet farming in their respective districts.

The area under millets in Jalandhar is negligible. Farmers in Shahkot and Bahogpur, according to Agriculture Department officials, sow fewer millets on their land. According to official records, no millet farming takes place in Kapurthala.

There are nine types of millets grown in the state, including jawar (sorghum), pearl millet (bajra), finger millet (ragi), proso millet (chena), kodo millet (kodra), foxtail millet (kangni), barnyard millet (swank), little millet (kutki), and browntop millet (hari kangni). Millets need less water to grow and can be grown on less fertile land. The Agriculture Department is now holding camps to encourage farmers to plant millets.

"There is a plan to encourage school students to shun maida (refined wheat flour) and start eating millets instead," said Dr Daljit Singh Gill, Joint Director, Agriculture Department. "We will tie up with the Health Department in order to make people aware about benefits of millets," he added.

"The area under millets is quite small in the state," said Gurvinder Singh, Director of Agriculture. "However, we have devised a strategy to promote millet farming. In addition, a state-level nodal officer has been assigned to encourage farmers to plant millets," he added.

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