MILLETS (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Agriculture and food security)

News-CRUX-10     9th September 2023        
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Context: According to the Agronomy Journal, examined data from crop models and digital technology, India’s core pearl millet or bajra production zone has shifted to 18 districts spread across eastern Rajasthan and Haryana between 1998 and 2017. Increase in rainfall triggered by human-induced climate change has led to this development.


  • Background: Earliest evidence found in Indus civilization: 3000 BC.

o Ancient food grain: first plants domesticated for food.

o Grown in 131 countries. Millets traditional food for 59 crore people in Asia & Africa.

  • Millets: They are collective group of small seeded annual grasses that are grown as grain crops, primarily on marginal land in dry areas of temperate, sub-tropical and tropical regions.
  • Includes: Sorghum (jowar), pearl millet (bajra), finger millet (ragi), barnyard, foxtail, brown top and other varieties.
  • Also known as: Supergrain, poor man’s food grain.
  • Largest producer: India is the largest producer of millets with 37.5% of the total global output followed by Sudan and Nigeria.
  • Good source of: Protein, fibre, and essential vitamins, as well as minerals.
  • Advantages of millets: Food and economic security, high nutrition, low glycemis index, climate resistant, doubling farmers' income. Etc.
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