Expectations high on millets promotion in agri budget
At present, millets are cultivated in Perambalur, Ariyalur, Kallakurichi, Pudukkottai, some parts of Tiruchy and Thanjavur districts.
TIRUCHY: As the Union Budget announced Sree Anna Yojana that promotes millet cultivation in the country, the farmers here felt that Tamil Nadu is one of most potential states for millet cultivation if proper awareness has been given to them and expect the Tamil Nadu agri budget to have a prominent place and fund allocation for millet cultivation.
At present, millets are cultivated in Perambalur, Ariyalur, Kallakurichi, Pudukkottai, some parts of Tiruchy and Thanjavur districts. “The farmers cultivate millets as bonus crops in the region after samba and thalady cultivation. Despite there is less damage in the cultivation, the farmers have a hesitation in cultivating them as main crop. The Union Budget announcement has kindled hope among the farmers to concentrate on cultivating millets provided the state Agri budget gives a wide announcement,” said N Veerasekaran, state secretary, Bharathiya Kisan Sangh (BKS).
Veerasekaran said that paddy being the major crop in the state, the farmers should come forward to take up millet cultivation. Now the rain-fed regions cultivate millets and the other areas cultivate it as an intercrop. “Millets are cultivated at least in 10,000 acres in each district and the area should be extended for which the state government should provide proper mechanism to farmers and we hope this would be enlisted in the upcoming budget,” Veerasekaran said.
He felt that millet cultivation would be a top priority in the next 10 years and it would be a major source of income in near future as the people have realised the health benefits in the millets and the Union government has started to promote them globally.
In order to promote cultivation, the state government not only should create awareness among the farmers, but also ensure marketing them. “As a pilot programme, the Uzhavar Santhai can have a separate platform for the sale of millets. This apart, the millets should be served in the midday meals for its health benefits and an announcement should be made in the upcoming budget,” Veerasekaran said.