Sundargarh: Besides being boosted by government initiatives, the millet cultivation in Odisha especially tribal-hinterland Sundergarh district is gaining pace due to its climate-resilient nature and high-yielding ability with low expenses.
Most from the farming community in Muribahal village of Sundergarh have taken to millet farming due to its high-earning nature. For the last few years, they have been growing the ancient grains and continue to increase the area of acres as they got handsome profit than any other crops.
Farmers are fascinated to opt for ragi cultivation as the grain grows on arid land with scanty rainfall. Moreover, it gives high profit with less labour, unlike other crops like paddy and pulses.
While pest attack is a major headache for farmers in paddy, oilseeds, vegetable and pulses cultivation, millet is naturally free from pests.
The government’s awareness initiative also plays a pivotal role in the increase of millet cultivation in the district.
“Odisha Millet Mission encouraged us to cultivate millet and imparted training in this regard. We got all types of cooperation from the Millet Mission. The officials also make surprise visits to our land and advise us. Last year, I earned Rs 1.5 lakh. This year I grew ragi on five acres of land and expect a bumper harvest, Satrughan Rohidas, a farmer said.
Earlier, I used to do paddy, black grams, and moong. But, I had a fear of crop loss due to scanty rainfall. But, in ragi cultivation, the fear of crop failure is almost less, he added.
Another farmer Govind Rohidas of Muribahal area also echoed a similar voice. “Initially, I cultivated only on three acres of land. Subsequently, the area of cultivation was increased due to good returns. This year, I cultivated on eight acres of land and expect to earn over Rs 1.5 lakh. Millet is giving more benefit than paddy and other crops.”
Recently, the Odisha Government organized the International Convention on Millets in Bhubaneswar as part of its initiative to revive the ancient nutritious food grains.
Several welfare organisations are also working under the ‘Millet Mission’ to spread awareness among common people. The government also extends all support beginning from giving technical support to financial and marketing assistance.
Sundergarh district has also emerged as a top performer in millet cultivation. The district was recently felicitated by the state government for its contribution to promoting the grains.