We all know that India thrives on its agriculture because in the end, what we eat comes from there. Now imagine these agricultural activities that produce crops failing to deliver the right amount of output. It will result in a lack of supply which will not meet people’s demands, further, it will result in a lack of food for the Indian population, food will get expensive, people will fall ill and so on.
What if we tell you that this is actually happening and it’s growing?
Let’s Get to Know About this Crisis:
Agriculture, directly and indirectly, occupies 70 percent of India’s workforce but comprises only 14 percent of the GDP. Despite these unbalanced figures, the country’s policymakers have nowadays treated agriculture as a development’s poorer cousin.
Debts have increased startlingly, harvests of all products except rice and wheat rot in place because of high imports and a lack of cold-storage facilities, and the government’s open and free-market policy has resulted in more layers of opportunistic middlemen than ever before.
Adding to this are the effects of climate change too, that is adding more pressure to this agricultural crisis. Rainfall is decreasing and becoming more erratic in all regions. This leads to low yields causing food shortage affecting the lives of agrarian communities, and drastic loss in gross national profit. A study backed by the World Bank Group states, “Drought can have health impacts, hamper firm productivity, accelerate the destruction of forests, and compromise agricultural systems.” Climate change has also induced food security as a threat which has become a concern due to rising population and dwindling resources. This gives rise to malnutrition and food scarcity.
But we have saviors amongst us that have the power to change all of this and they are present at your home sometimes. They are known to be superfoods that are so healthy and strong that you can’t fathom! They are the one and only… (drum roll) …MILLETS! Yes, you read it right, millet varieties like Ragi, Jowar, Bajra, Foxtail Millet, etc have powers that can solve the agricultural crisis.
The millet varieties can offer a sustainable solution to the amplifying crisis of food security and environmental damage in the following ways:
- Millets are suitable to be grown in regions with rainfall between 200 mm to 500 mm whereas crops such as rice and sugarcane are grown abundantly require 1000 mm and 2000 mm respectively.
- Millets are greatly resistant to the adversities of cold, drought and salinity, and thus suitable for cultivation on dry and arid lands. This offers an immense potential to rescue agricultural communities ridden by drought and poverty.
For instance- Foxtail millet can grow in sandy to loamy soils and offers the advantage of growing rapidly in warm weather and semi-arid conditions. It has also shown high tolerance to salinity and can be grown in the plains as well as higher elevations.
- Proso millet is a short-season crop with low water requirement and grows in both plateaus and hilly regions.
- Pearl millet is recommended for low-input sustainable agricultural systems, its deep root system capable of scavenging buried nutrients. The crop also survives 21 baking heat—yielding produce in temperature over 42 degrees Celsius.
Due to the above reasons, the attention of governments, policymakers and research bodies is turning towards ancient food grains like millets in order to secure the future. They plan to develop new-age strategies to control climate change and maintain adequate food production, the familiar proverb “old is gold” may well describe these grains that have survived and sustained communities in the face of changing weather conditions across millennia.
Truly millets are superfoods of India that have been in the shadows for too long, but not anymore. Policymakers, government entities, and initiatives such as ours is an effort towards building millets as one of the best options to save India from the agricultural crisis.
So, start doing your bit by consuming millets and spreading awareness about it in your community to be at the forefront of this battle!