Chennai: Tamil Nadu government has decided to provide subsidy to bring cultivation of millets in fallow lands and crop diversification to millets in 50,000 acres under its Tamil Nadu Millet Mission, said the Minister for Agriculture M.R.K.Panneerselvam.
Presenting the state’s Agriculture Budget for FY24 in the Assembly on Tuesday, Panneerselvam said with the United Nations declaring 2023 as the International Year of Millets, the state government will implement the Tamil Nadu Millet Mission for five years.
“Under this scheme, subsidy will be given for bringing millet cultivation to fallow lands and crop diversification to millets in 50,000 acres. Hundred groups of millet producers will be formed by bringing together millet farmers and training programmes will be conducted for them,” Panneerselvam said.
He further said that a subsidy will be provided to install a sprinkler irrigation system for 12,500 acres. Subsidy assistance will be provided to farmer producer groups to set up Millets Processing Centres for selling value added millets.
In order to create awareness about the goodness of millets, the government will celebrate ‘Millet Festivals’.
According to him, to increase the production and consumption of millets, Finger millet and pearl millet will be directly procured and availability of millets will be ensured in fair price shops.
Millet-based food will be included in Government institutions and hostels of educational institutions, Panneerselvam said.
In the coming year, the scheme will be implemented with the financial assistance of the Union and state governments at an estimated cost of Rs 82 crore, he said.
Further, in order to revive millets in Tamil Nadu and to increase the area under its cultivation, production and consumption of millets, the government has decided to declare five more districts – Namakkal, Tirupur, Coimbatore, Erode and Pudukottai – a millet zones.
In the last year’s Agriculture Budget, two millet zones encompassing 20 districts were declared.
To make millets available to people, steps are being taken to distribute two kilograms of Ragi to family card holders in Nilgiris and Dharmapuri districts on a pilot basis.
Also, to facilitate the farmers in getting fair price, processed minor millets are procured through cooperative societies and distributed through Amutham, Chinthamani and Kamadhenu Co-operative sales outlets in Chennai and Coimbatore cities, Panneerselvam said.