In a pro-farmer move, for the first time, the Yogi-led government in Uttar Pradesh is going to buy ‘bajra’ (pearl millet) along with maize and paddy at the Minimum Support Price in the Kharif marketing year 2022-23. As per a press release, the move is part of the government’s larger plan to promote coarse grains ahead of the International Millet Year. The minimum support price of bajra has been fixed at Rs 2350 per quintal.
Procurement will start on October 15 in districts with high yield, including Aligarh, Hathras, Kasganj, Etah, Agra, Firozabad, Mathura, Mainpuri, Bareilly, Budaun, Sambhal, Buladsheher, Kanpur Dehat, Auraiyya, Etawah, Jalaun, Prayagraj and Ghazipur. Since coarse grains require less water and are more economical in terms of production cost compared to wheat and paddy, UP has been encouraging farmers to cultivate prominent coarse cereals like maize, jwar, bajra (pearl millets) and barley, the state government said.
Commissioner, Food and Civil Supplies, Sorabh Babu informed that the state was working towards bringing more coarse grains under the institutional procurement system for further remunerating the farmers and achieving the goal of doubling rural income. Despite a low level of awareness, the government’s intervention has yielded visible results and millets cultivation is on the rise in the state. In a bid to make UP one trillion-dollar economy, the government is making concrete efforts to revive millet cultivation under rainfed farming systems.
It is noteworthy that the United Nations (UN) has declared 2023 as the International Year of Millets, acting on India’s proposal. In this regard, the Uttar Pradesh Government plans to hold several programmes in the state for popularising millet and other nutri-cereals. The government’s action plan for the International Year of Millets -2023, focuses on enhancing production, consumption, export and branding, among others.
In the proposed action plan, the government will also focus on increasing the cultivation area, production of millets and productivity of the land. The Government plans to increase the area of bajra cultivation, which is currently 9.80 lakh hectare, to 10.19 lakh hectares and productivity from the current 24.55 quintal/hectare to 25.53 q/ht.