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Procurement target doubled for Coarse Cereals
News: In a meeting organized by the Department of Food and Public Distribution, the government of India has considered pushing towards coarse cereals as climate change affects wheat and paddy cultivation.
What are coarse cereals?
• They are traditionally grown in resource poor agro-climatic regions of the country. Sorghum, pearl millet, maize, barley, finger millet and several small millets such as kodo millet, little millet, foxtail millet, proso millet and barnyard millet together called coarse cereals.
• They are known for nutria-rich content and they exhibit strong resilience towards climate change.
• They offer option in food processing industry and which can be further tapped for its export potential.
• Nutritional value can be excellent tool to combat malnutrition.
• Their cultivation in drought prone areas helps not only generate employment but also serves as feedstock for animal and poultry and has industrial potential too.
Reasons behind Government’s push for Coarse Cereals:
• Dependency on wheat and paddy alone for country’s food security may not suffice in the long run. In addition, climate change has affected production of wheat and paddy in the country.
• Changing rainfall pattern in past few years and especially in 2022 has increased the government’s concern for Kharif season yield.
• Cost of cultivation is low as compared to paddy and wheat.
• Coarse cereals have been sown in 17.63 million hectares in 2022 as against 16.93 million hectares in 2021.
What steps are taken by Government to promote coarse cereals?
• The United Nation General Assembly adopted an India-sponsored resolution to mark 2023 as the “International Year of Millets”.
• The government has hiked the Minimum Support Price of Millets, which came as a big price incentive for farmers and to provide a steady market for the produce, the government has included millets in the public distribution system.
• Initiative for Nutritional security through Intensive millet promotion – The scheme aimed to improve production and post-harvest technologies to increase production of millets.