Call to promote millet farming
With the rising consumption of millet, stakeholders have highlighted the urgent need to boost its production in Nepal.
As part of efforts to raise awareness about millet farming, an event commemorating the 3rd International Millet Day was organized in Mandan Deupur-6 Municipality of Kavre in the joint coordination of the National Farmers Groups Federation Nepal, Anaj Nepal, Mandan Deupur Municipality, Food and Agriculture Organization, Care Nepal, and Milan Women Agriculture Group.
Navaraj Basnet, President of the federation, emphasized that millet is a crucial food crop for marginalized farmers, forming the basis of their livelihood. He urged the government to prioritize millet farming, promote awareness about climate-friendly farming practices, and educate the public about the health benefits and suitability of millet cultivation. Additionally, he stressed the importance of linking millet processing and entrepreneurship to agricultural education.
Similarly, Dr Ram Krishna Shrestha, Chief of Crop Development and Agricultural Biodiversity Conservation Center, shared that the government is actively promoting millet farming in 167 rural municipalities this year, an increase from the 133 municipalities covered last year. “The program includes various components, such as crop production, branding, marketing, and the protection of indigenous crops,” he added. Likewise, Dr Hari Bahadur KC, a joint secretary at the Department of Agriculture, informed that the government is taking measures to protect indigenous crops like millets. “We need a concerted effort from all stakeholders to increase millet production,” he added.
Also speaking on the occasion, Uddhav Adhikari, Chairman of Agriculture Campaign for Food, underscored the importance of prioritizing millet cultivation, stating that farmers across the country are giving up millet farming. “Now that people have realized the significance of this crop and its potential, the government needs to provide support to farmers to increase production,” he added.
Recognizing the global importance of millets, the United Nations General Assembly has declared 2023 as the International Year of Millets. The government has also designated this year as the Year of Millets, with the theme ‘Millet Crops for Food Nutrition, Security, Environment, and Rural Transformation’. Nepal is ranked 13th in the world for millet production, with 320,953 tons produced in 2020, according to data from the Food and Agriculture Organization. However, due to the surging domestic demand, Nepal has been importing a significant quantity of millet, amounting to Rs 732m in 2022/23, an increase from Rs 722m in 2021/22.
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