Day 89 – Q.1 What is the importance of millets in Indian agriculture and food systems, and how can their cultivation and consumption be promoted? What are the challenges in marketing and scaling up millet production, and how can those be addressed? Discuss. 

  • IASbaba
  • February 25, 2023
  • 0
Current Affairs, TLP-UPSC Mains Answer Writing
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What is the importance of millets in Indian agriculture and food systems, and how can their cultivation and consumption be promoted? What are the challenges in marketing and scaling up millet production, and how can those be addressed? Discuss. 

भारतीय कृषि और खाद्य प्रणालियों में बाजरा का क्या महत्व है और उनकी खेती और खपत को कैसे बढ़ावा दिया जा सकता है? बाजरा उत्पादन के विपणन और उसे बढ़ाने में क्या चुनौतियाँ हैं, और उनका समाधान कैसे किया जा सकता है? चर्चा करें।


A simple straightforward question where candidates need to write about importance of millet in Indian agriculture and food systems  and how can their consumption and cultivation is promoted , in second part write about challenges associated with it and how can those challenges is  addressed .


Millet is an important crop in Indian agriculture, with a rich history of cultivation dating back thousands of years. Millet is a collective term that includes several small-seeded grasses such as sorghum, pearl millet, finger millet, foxtail millet, and little millet. It is an important crop in Indian agriculture and society, providing food security, nutrition, cultural significance, livelihoods, and environmental sustainability.


Importance of Millets –

  • Drought Tolerance: Millet’s are naturally adapted to dry and arid conditions, making them a suitable crop for regions with limited rainfall. They require minimal water and are capable of growing in poor soil conditions, making them a reliable crop even during times of drought.
  • Nutritional Benefits: Millets are an excellent source of essential nutrients such as protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They are gluten-free, low glycemic index, and have high antioxidant activity, which makes them a healthy alternative to rice or wheat.
  • Ecological Benefits: Millets have a shallow root system and require minimal fertilizers, making them an environmentally friendly crop. They also act as a natural barrier against soil erosion, and their short growth cycle allows for crop rotation, which helps in maintaining soil health.
  • Economic Benefits: Millets are an important crop for small-scale farmers as they require minimal investment and have a low input cost. They also have a high market demand due to their nutritional benefits, making them a lucrative crop for farmers.
  • To promote the cultivation of millets in India, the government has launched several initiatives such as the Millets Mission, which aims to increase the production and consumption of millets.
  • Additionally, good farming systems for millets include inter-cropping with legumes, crop rotation, and the use of organic farming practices. These systems help in maintaining soil health, increasing yield, and reducing pest and disease infestations.

How their cultivation and consumption is promoted-

  • The cultivation and consumption of millets have been promoted in India through various initiatives and campaigns by the government, NGOs, and private organizations. Here are some ways in which their cultivation and consumption are being promoted:
  • Government initiatives: The Government of India has launched several initiatives to promote the cultivation of millets, such as the National Food Security Mission (NFSM) and the Millets Mission. These initiatives provide farmers with support and guidance on cultivating millets, as well as financial assistance to encourage production.
  • Awareness campaigns: Several NGOs and private organizations have launched awareness campaigns to promote the consumption of millets. These campaigns educate people about the health benefits of millets and encourage them to incorporate millets into their diet.
  • Millet festivals: Millet festivals have been organized in various parts of the country to promote the consumption of millets. These festivals showcase various millet-based dishes and products, and provide a platform for farmers, chefs, and consumers to come together and learn about millets.
  • Incentives for farmers: The government and private organizations are providing incentives to farmers to encourage the cultivation of millets. These incentives include subsidies on seeds, fertilizers, and equipment, as well as buy-back guarantees for the millet produce.
  • The promotion of millets in India involves a multi-pronged approach that includes government initiatives, awareness campaigns, value-added products, and incentives for farmers.

What are challenges in marketing and scaling up millet production –

  • While there is growing interest in millet’s in India, there are still several challenges in marketing and scaling up millet production. Here are some of the main challenges:
  • Limited awareness and demand: While there is a growing awareness of the health benefits of millet’s, many consumers are still not familiar with millet’s and do not know how to cook or consume them. This limits the demand for millet-based products and makes it difficult for farmers to sell their produce.
  • Lack of processing and storage infrastructure: There is a lack of processing and storage infrastructure for millets, which makes it difficult for farmers to process and package their produce. This limits their ability to add value to their produce and sell it at higher prices.
  • Limited market access: Millet farmers often face limited market access, particularly in remote and rural areas. This can lead to low prices and limited demand for their produce.
  • Low productivity: Millet productivity in India is often low due to a lack of access to quality seeds, fertilizers, and other inputs. This can limit the ability of farmers to scale up production and meet market demand.
  • Climate change: Climate change is affecting millet production in India, particularly in areas that are already prone to drought and other weather extremes. This can lead to lower yields and quality, making it more difficult to market and sell millets.
  • To address these challenges, there is a need for greater investment in millet processing and storage infrastructure, as well as efforts to raise awareness of the health benefits of millets among consumers.
  • Additionally, there is a need for better access to quality seeds, fertilizers, and other inputs to improve millet productivity and scale up production. Finally, there is a need to develop new market linkages and value chains to help millet farmers access markets and sell their produce at higher prices.

Conclusion –

Millet has played an important role in Indian agriculture and society for thousands of is environmentally sustainable and can help to protect soil health, reduce water usage, and improve biodiversity. Millet is a low-input crop that requires minimal fertilizers and pesticides, making it a more environmentally friendly alternative to other crops.

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