Lockdown brings new business prospects for millet farmers in Idukki

Lincoln Wylie

For Ramakrishnan, a tribal farmer carrying out millet farming at Soosanikkudy in Marayur in Kerala’s Idukki district, the Covid-induced lockdown has turned out to be a very good enterprise prospect in this year.

The increased creation of millets these as Ragi, Maize, Thina (Foxtail millet), etc — which is all set for harvest in a thirty day period — in his tribal hamlets has located consumers in the open up market place.

The expectation of a very good crop has captivated lots of natural farm producers. A two hundred-gm millet pack fetches a retail price tag of ₹40 in the market place, Ramakrishnan claimed.

The lockdown has pressured not only Ramakrishnan, but also farmers in other hamlets to increase creation this year, who experienced feared a possible meals shortage arising out of the pandemic. The unprecedented situation has resulted in a very good generate, which is obtaining all set for harvest.

 

Farmers hope to double the regular annual crop of 24 tonnes in Idukki as a result of concerted efforts. The maize creation is also predicted to double to thirty tonnes, he claimed.

In accordance to the farming community, cultivation of millet — one of the most farmer-friendly crops — was a major agricultural exercise among the tribal community of Munnar earlier to meet their meals prerequisite. Nevertheless, the dependence on free of charge ration as a result of PDS led to the neglect of millet farming, resulting in the lands lying idle in lots of tribal hamlets.

Ramakrishnan claimed college students returning to colonies with the closing down of academic establishments in the lockdown ensured labour availability for millet cultivation. Apart from farming linked pursuits these as land planning, sowing of seeds etc they even supplied safety for the crop in the area from wild animals, he claimed.

Joby George, the agriculture officer in Vattavada, claimed the department dispersed close to 800 kg of Ragi seeds this calendar year in coordination with the United Nations Development Programme. Abundant in calcium, fibre and protein, Ragi has a shelf life of close to four many years and the tribal communities use it though planning favorite dishes these as Appam, Puttu etc.

The report prepared by the Kerala Agriculture Section in 2017 suggests Ragi is cultivated in 13 hectares in Idukki significant ranges and of this, ninety per cent is in the tribal colonies of Kanthallur, Marayur, Vattavada, Edamalakudi, Munnar panchayats.

Attapady in Palakkad is the major millet producer. The Condition authorities has also initiated techniques to start worth-additional goods from surplus creation of millets, official resources claimed.

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