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The state Govts need to give MSP to farmers on Millets: Dr T.R.Sharma, DDG,ICAR

Palampur 10 March. Dr T.R.Sharma, Deputy Director General, Indian Council of Agricultural Research inaugurated a ‘Brainstorming session on mainstreaming native agro biodiversity of North Western Himalayas with special emphasis on Millets at CSK H.P.Agriculture University, here today.

While addressing scientists, farmers and other stakeholders, Dr Sharma said that technology is available to enhance millets production by 225 percent although area under millets has declined by 75 percent in the last 70 years. He told that millets will be included in mid day meals to provide nutritive food to students and enhance income of farmers. He said that he expects that state governments, including H.P.,  will give minimum support price on millets to farmers to encourage them to grow these nutritive crops. Dr Sharma told that ICAR has a major project on agro biodiversity giving good results. Collection and conservation of landraces and wild species is crucial to develop climate resilient crop varieties. He told that besides underutilized crops, ICAR is working on bio fortification of varieties like wheat containing high amount of zinc. He said that due to Ukraine conflict, India need to grow more wheat but give equal emphasis on increasing production of millets.

In his presidential remarks, Prof H.K.Chaudhary, Vice-Chancellor said that  a lot of awareness has been created among farmers about the importance to grow and use millets but there is need of developing marketing facilities at the doorstep of farmers. An MoU has been signed with Indian Institute of Millets Research and the University is working to identify traditional varieties of millets which give high yields. Many programmes have been envisaged to celebrate this International Year of Millets in the University and its all research and extension centres. Prof Chaudhary discussed issues like changing food habits, low cost of production of millets, importance of indigenous knowledge, naturally bio-fortified crops, processing of millets, etc. The Vice Chancellor informed about his fruitful efforts of collaboration with public and private sector to propel research work. He also detailed the distinctive products of all 12 districts of the State and successful efforts of the  University in getting national awards to progressive farmers. He asked all participants to use millets in their daily diet and called Amaranthus, Buckwheat and Chenopodium as ABC of millets.

Dr J.C.Rana, country Director, Alliance Biodiversity International and Director,  International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) told that around Rs. 100 crore project has been initiated on mainstreaming agro-biodiversity. It will give good results. He said that a value chain has been developed to conserve traditional landraces. Farmers will grow such crops if they get good prices. All should join hands beginning from grassroots levels.

Dr S.P.Dixit, Director Research that lot of efforts have been made to conserve biodiversity. The state has around one percent biodiversity of the world.

Dr R.K.Chahota, Convener, told that program was jointly organized by the University, Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT with participation of around 15O persons including Shri Nek Ram Sharma, Padam Shri awardee progressive farmer and University Krishi Doot took part in the programme.

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