Want to cultivate millets, but facing issues

Hi Team,

I’ve been part of the Grove community from last 18 months and regularly read the interesting and inspiring work that the team is currently doing.

Getting inspired is one thing but to be able to actually do something practically is what that matters in my opinion :slight_smile:

One of my close friends has nearly 4 acres of land and have previously wanted to attempt cultivating Black rice but we backed off as we heard the feedback that it requires more water and fertile lands.

I wanted to see if we can experiment cultivating millets but after doing bit of reading about why there’s almost close to 0% contribution by my state Telangana and less than 10% by entire southern states and talking to folks here are some of the key issues for cultivating them: non availability of quality seed, intricacies in organic farming, lack of sufficient millets processing facilities, minimum support price (which even though states like Karnataka are addressing but has not yet seen notable changes)

Three states Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana accounts for more than 81% share in total millet products with Rajasthan contributing nearly 40% of the total millet production in India’s total millets production.

Would love to know why there’s such a huge gap between southern states and Rajasthan or UP for that matter. It would be great if someone from the team can help us understand the issues and suggest some actionable solutions.

Thank you in Advance :slight_smile: :pray:

Millets are indeed more commonly cultivated in the northern part of India as compared to the southern part, and there are several reasons for this:

  1. Climate: Millets are hardy crops that can grow well in dry and semi-arid regions with less rainfall. The northern parts of India, particularly the states of Rajasthan, Haryana, and Punjab, have a semi-arid climate with lower rainfall, which is more conducive for the cultivation of millets.

  2. Agricultural practices: In the northern part of India, farmers have traditionally grown millets as a staple crop, and their knowledge and experience of growing these crops has been passed down through generations. This has resulted in the development of local varieties of millets that are better adapted to the climatic and soil conditions of the region.

  3. Consumption patterns: Millets have been a staple food in the northern part of India for centuries, and there is a strong cultural affinity towards these crops. Millets are consumed in various forms such as rotis, porridge, and as an ingredient in various sweets, and are widely available in the local markets.

In contrast, the southern part of India has a more tropical climate with higher rainfall, and the soil is generally more fertile. As a result, crops such as rice, wheat, and other cash crops like sugarcane and cotton are more commonly grown in the southern region.

Promoting millets in southern India as healthier alternatives to both the soil and the health may drive the adoption of millets by farmers.

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Don’t know what the data says but anecdotally I’ve observed Southern India having a larger consumption of millets as a part of the daily food basket as compared to the north. Is this true and what are the reasons for the same?

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This isn’t the whole picture, but adds one layer to the entire discourse. Dividing India along the North-South or even as per state does not always help. If we took size, population density, ecosystem type etc. there are how variations.

Might make sense to look at it from a lens of Districts - which are more consistent with size, while the rest vary.

Sharing this map that might gives some insight into wheat-rice scenario. Might help make sense of the Millet scenario.

Is this split mainly because rice requires more water than wheat and eastern India receives a higher rainfall on average?