Ranchi: SwitchON Foundation, in an attempt to encourage millet production, organized a high-quality millet seeds distribution program amongst farmers in Jharkhand’s Dumka. The initiative not only augments agricultural productivity but also contributes to the overall nutritional well-being of the community. In addition to seed distribution, SwitchON Foundation also created awareness about the nutritional benefits of millets, says a press release.
SwitchON aims to empower farmers in the region by providing them with access to good quality millet seeds, thereby enabling them to grow this beneficial crop. By diversifying their farming practices to include millet cultivation, farmers can enjoy the numerous advantages that millets offer, such as improved soil health, reduced water requirements, and increased resilience to climate change.
Managing Director of SwitchON Foundation, Vinay Jaju said, “Millet is a highly nutritious and climate-resilient crop and holds immense potential in enhancing the agricultural landscape and ensuring food security. By helping our farmers to cultivate millets, we not only aim for their well being but the wellbeing of our environment as a whole.”
A baseline study was launched by SwitchON Foundation on Cultivation of Millets in Jharkhand. The study was carried out through a survey of 488 farmers in three districts viz. Dumka, Pakur and Sahibganj. The study revealed that 66% of the farmers grow at least one of the prime millets and 34% of the farmers are not into growing either of the prime millets.
It was found that 88% of farmers reported knowing about the low water requirement of millets. The study revealed that the frequency of millet consumption was 90-99% in Pakur and Sahibganj and 62% in Dumka. 98% farmers felt that the government subsidy would be a positive step towards providing support to marginal farmers.
To establish a narrative at the national and global levels, it is crucial to foster collaboration among stakeholders such as government agencies, implementing partners, FPOs, financial institutions, agricultural institutions, cooperatives, and end-user beneficiaries. The report highlights intricate challenges faced by marginal farmers of Jharkhand which comprises low income level, low landholding size, high agricultural input cost, lack of reliable irrigation facilities, and lack of smooth access to market centers.
A focused group discussion on millet was also organized as part of the initiative. The discussion aimed to engage farmers in an interactive session, where they gained valuable insights on cultivation process, health benefits and culinary applications of millets. By promoting the consumption of millets within their households, farmers can unlock the nutritional potential of this versatile crop, leading to healthier diets and improved food security.