Finger Millet in Tribal Farming Systems Contributes to Increased Availability of Nutritious Food at Household Level: Insights from India

TitleFinger Millet in Tribal Farming Systems Contributes to Increased Availability of Nutritious Food at Household Level: Insights from India
Publication TypeMagazine Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsPradhan A, Panda AKumar, Bhavani R.V
MagazineSpringer
Pagination8
Date Published10/2018
KeywordsFinger millet;  Nutritive food;  Labour requirement ; Household consumption;  Subsistence agriculture;  Tribal communities
Abstract

The challenge to food production posed by climate aberrations has been seeing increased attention to reviving millet-based farming systems. Millets are climate-resilient and nutritionally equivalent or superior to most other cereals, making them a favourable crop to address the prevalence of malnutrition. Finger millet (Eleusine coracana) is among the major crops cultivated in the undulating terrains of Koraput district of Odisha, India. It is consumed as a staple food and drink by the local tribal communities. However, over the years there has been rapid decline both in area and in production of the crop leading to reduced grain availability for household consumption. With a view to increase the productivity, the
study assessed the effects of possible combinations of crop varieties and agronomic practices that can be customized for finger millet production system in Koraput over 2 years (2015–2017). The study focused on crop productivity, profitability and labour requirement along with nutrition awareness initiatives. On-farm trial with improved variety ‘GPU-67’ with line transplanting and recommended fertilizer management in 2015–2016 showed 31 and 50% higher grain yield and profit than that of farmers’ practice (1579 kg ha- 1 and `13,730 ha- 1, respectively) and was counted as a recommended cultivation package. In 2016–2017, the recommended practice showed 60% higher grain yield and 1.16 times more profit than farmers’ practice (1575 kg ha- 1 and `14,000 ha- 1, respectively) (P\0.000). Both total and women’s labour requirement per ha was lower under recommended practice. An endline survey in 2017 revealed improved household consumption
over baseline.

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