Giving a boost to the rural economy and millets, the procurement of food grains in the current kharif marketing season 2023-24 has touched 2 million tonnes (MT).
The farmers have been paid more than Rs 3,500 crore against the institutional procurement by government agencies including the Food Corporation of India (FCI) under the minimum support price (MSP) mechanism.
According to the UP food and civil supplies department, the food grain procurement includes millets or coarse grains; also referred to as ‘Sri Anna’ for its indigenous origins and health benefits.
The prevailing paddy MSP is Rs 2,183 and Rs 2,203 per quintal (100 kg) for common variety and grade-A paddy respectively.
Meanwhile, millets procurement under the MSP system has logged 220,000 tonnes spanning maize, bajra and jowar crops.
The Yogi Adityanath government is promoting the cultivation, processing and marketing of millets to nurture a robust value chain for erstwhile neglected basket of traditional crops, which fell out of favour vis-à-vis wheat and paddy.
UP is targetting to increase the acreage of millets to 2.5 million hectares (MH), launch exclusive millet outlets and engage women entrepreneurs and self help groups (SHG) in its value chain.
UP is looking to boost the production of millets and oilseeds by increasing area under cultivation and replacing 10-15 percent of paddy acreage with millet and oilseed crops.
UP millet crop area and production is estimated at 1.1 MH and 5 MT respectively, which roughly corresponds to 20 percent of India’s annual output. Major millet crops in the state include jowar, bajra, kodo, ragi, kottu and sanwa.
Interestingly, millets offer a spectrum of low risk crops, which are resilient to climate change. As such, the Yogi government is promoting the cultivation of such nutritious cereals in rain-fed areas. UP is also taking steps to introduce millets in the midday meal scheme.