India’s Big Millets Push, and Why it Makes Sense to Have These Grain


India is promoting the cultivation and consumption of millets as a part of its efforts to promote healthy and sustainable diets, improve farmers’ livelihoods and combat climate change.

A field of bajra in 2020. (Express Archive)

Millets are a group of small-seeded grains that have been grown and consumed in India for thousands of years. Unlike rice and wheat, millets are highly resilient crops that can grow in difficult conditions such as drought and high temperatures, making them well-suited for the changing climate.

India’s push towards promoting millets is based on the recognition of their numerous health and environmental benefits. Millets are drought-resistant and can be grown in areas with low rainfall and poor soil, making them an ideal crop for dry and marginal areas.

They are also rich in nutrients like fiber, protein, iron, and calcium and have a low glycemic index, making them suitable for people with diabetes. In addition, millets have a lower water and land footprint compared to other staple crops like rice and wheat, making them more sustainable in terms of their impact on the environment. Millets are also highly nutritious, with a rich content of fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals.

They have a low glycemic index, which means that they release energy slowly and help regulate blood sugar levels. This makes them an ideal food for people with diabetes and other health conditions.

In addition to the health benefits, promoting millets also has the potential to improve the livelihoods of small-scale farmers. Millets are typically grown on small plots of land and can be harvested within three to four months, allowing farmers to earn a quicker return on their investment.

To encourage the consumption of millets, the Indian government has launched several initiatives such as subsidies for millet cultivation, mandatory inclusion of millets in school meals, and research and development programs to improve the yield and quality of millets.

India’s push for millets makes sense for several reasons. They are nutritious, climate-resilient, and have the potential to improve the livelihoods of farmers. By promoting the consumption of millets, India is taking a step towards a healthier and more sustainable future.


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