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Include millets in daily diet to help farmers: Karnataka CM

IANS | Bengaluru |

With an view to supporting the farmers cultivating millets in dry areas of the country, and also for their nutritional value, millets must be included as part of our daily diet, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said on Friday.

“Karnataka is a dry state and over the past 17 years, we have been drought-free only for three years. It is important to raise awareness on millets as part of daily diets due to their nutritional value and ease of cultivation,” the CM said addressing the “International Trade Fair on Organics and Millets” here.

The three-day trade fair, which started on January 19 at the sprawling Palace Grounds in the City Centre, expects to host at least two lakh people, including farmers, retailers and consumers.

Being organised by the state’s Department of Agriculture, the fair showcases organic and sustainable crops and products from states like Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Meghalaya, Uttarakhand, Haryana and Chhattisgarh.

“The food we eat has an impact on the farmers and the environment. Through this conference, we hope to bring a change in dietary habits and promote a more sustainable future,” said state Agriculture Minister Krishna Byre Gowda on the occasion.

Millets are the grain crops that are used as fodder and for human consumption. The crop is capable of giving high productivity, with a short growing season that can grow even in severely dry regions.

Hailed as a miracle crop, millets were once a large part of Indian farms and diets.

The central government had been urged to identify the year 2018 as the “Year of Millets” to promote the crop in the country, Gowda said.

“The United Nations has also been asked to declare 2018 as the International Year of Millets to popularise the healthy crop globally,” he reiterated.

With a large population of our country dependant on agriculture, governments must look at increasing their incomes, the Chief Minister stated.

“India as a country has a large population dependant on agriculture. We must all look at improving our farmers’ earnings through innovations and make agriculture lucrative for them,” Siddaramaiah asserted.

Organic farming in the state had been rising, with the area under it increasing by about one lakh hectare, Siddaramaiah mentioned.

The fest is also hosting a farmers’ workshop to share information on organic cultivation with the attending farming communities.

Several stalls were also set up at the exhibition by companies in agri-business like MTR Foods, Mother India Agro Foods, Big Basket and Nature-Bio Foods, among others, to showcase their products.