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Millets are a group of small grained cereals having nutritionally rich grains cultivated under poor soil fertility conditions and are low input demanding crops. They are staple crops in the semi-arid tropics and largely found in low rainfall receiving areas, and consequently assume larger position in sustainable agriculture and nutritional security in the drylands. Most of the millets complete their life cycle in 60 to 120 days, acclimatizing to the brief cropping periods that endure unpredicted climatic vagaries and shifting. The broader classification of millets puts these crops into two groups – major and minor millets. The minor or small millets comprise finger millet, little millet, kodo millet, barnyard millet, foxtail millet, proso millet and brown top millet in the order of decreasing acreage. Presently these crops are receiving renewed attention owing to their short duration, and distinctive capacity to yield even under poor and marginal soils where other crops usually fail to produce any economic yield. They offer better crops under drylands especially in tribal agriculture contributing to food, fodder and nutritional security. Because of superior nutritional qualities, the millets are now called as nutri-cereals. Owing to the wider adaptation of small millets, major consideration is being extended in the country and at global level towards the research efforts on these crops.

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