50 years on, millet makes a comeback in Odisha’s Keonjhar district -Aishwarya Mohanty
-The Indian Express
Nearly half a century later, millet is making a comeback, thanks to the intervention of the local administration and NGOs. Today, Hanhaga is among 1990 farmers across 163 villages in Keonjhar who have taken up the cultivation of millet.
Keonjhar: In the 1960s and ’70s, with the advent of the green revolution, the Indian taste for cereal tilted towards wheat and rice.
This was the time when Rumbi Hanhaga (56), a farmer from Murgapahadi village in Odisha’s Keonjhar district, switched to growing paddy and vegetables instead of millets. Many others like him followed suit, and soon, millets disappeared from the farms and diets of the people in the state.
“I was 12 when I started helping my father at the farm. Back then, we grew ragi (Eleusine coracana or finger millet) and foxtail millet (Setaria italica) — two varieties of millet — but most of it was for personal consumption. We hardly sold the produce in the market and it was not profitable. Eventually, high-yielding rice varieties came into the picture and almost all the farmers from the village switched to that from the economic point of view,” Hanhaga said.
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The Indian Express, 23 September, 2020, https://indianexpress.com/article/india/50-years-on-millet-makes-a-comeback-in-odishas-keonjhar-district-6606847/