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Millet cultivation in Jharkhand: trend and challenges

Millets are a group of highly variable small seeded grasses, widely grown around the world as cereal crop or grain for fodder and human food. Millets may have been consumed by humans for 7000 years. The crop is favoured due to its productivity and short growing season under dry, high temperature conditions. In Jharkhand context the climate is very suitable for the cultivation of millets and 20 -30 years ago farmers cultivate millets in their 50-60% of total agriculture land and various types of millet like Sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) commonly known as Jowar or Tilai Gangai in Jharkhand, Pearl millet (Penniseyum glaucum) commonly known as Bajra, Finger millet (Eleusine coracana) commonly known as Ragi or Maduwa. Kodo millet (Paspalum scrobiculatum) commonly known as Kodo. There are 32 tribes having their habitat in Jharkhand state and mainly those people were cultivated millet in entire Jharkhand and millets were in the list of their staple food. But that trend is going to end. There are some told and untold reason bears the responsibility to decrease millet cultivation in huge way in spite of having more nutritional value than rice or wheat. In the case of decreasing area production of millet the main cause in the sowing and transplanting time of millet is same with the paddy so labour scarcity occurs then primary processing of various millet is laborious work. When government starts Public Distribution System (PDS) and give 2Rs./kg rice then people dined to give much labour to millets. Now people feel inferior status to consume millet. In 2020 only two types of millets (Ragi or Maduwa and jowar) is cultivating in the Southern Jharkhand mainly Khunti, Gumla, Simdega, Lohardaga, East and West Singhbhum and total area of cultivation have also decreased to 20-30% of total agricultural land of a farmer.

Rishav Ghosh, 25/01/2020

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