The College of Horticulture and Forestry (CHF), Pasighat in collaboration with the Siang district agriculture department has launched a ‘Millet Cultivation Project’ at the remote Riga village in Siang district.
The project is sponsored by the Indian Council for Agricultural Research run Indian Institute of Millets Research (IIMR) in Hyderabad to increase the production of millet in the northeastern region.
Professor of CHF (Agronomy), Paban Kumar Gaudar said the objective of the project is to popularize millet cultivation in Arunachal Pradesh and make locals aware that the cereal can be consumed as a staple food.
Millets is a cereal rich in protein and minerals besides having anti-oxidant and anti-carcinogenic (cancer preventive) qualities.
The fertile red soil and atmospheric conditions of the Siang region are suitable for the cultivation of different varieties of Millets.
“The people of the Northeast use millets in preparing alcoholic drinks and we are working to make the farmers aware that it is a staple food,” Gaudar said.
“Commercial cultivation of the cereal crop is highly beneficial,” he said.
Millets cultivation in Arunachal Pradesh covers only 20 to 30 per cent of the total cropped area, but the project aims to increase it to 70 to 80 percent.
“We target to cover 30 hectares of cultivable land in seven selected districts in the first phase”, he added.
A day-long training programme on millets cultivation was also organized during which agriculture scientists imparted farmers on the economic importance of millets with reference to their food and medicinal values.
The participants also learned about the cultivation and safe harvesting procedures of millets during the training.