Hyderabad Declaration on Millets adopted

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Hyderabad, Jun 7 (UNI) Declaring millets as the future of food and farming for India, representatives of farmers, scientists, development academics and civil society activists have called for inclusion of millets in the Public Distribution System (PDS).

Briefing newspersons here today on the deliberations of the two-day National Consultation on Millets, organised by the Millet Network of India (MINI) and the Deccan Development Society here on June 5 and 6, Society Director P V Satheesh said, ''millets can be the only answer to the agrarian, ecological and energy crisis as well as impending climate change challenges that is haunting Indian farming.'' The Hyderabad Declaration, adopted at the Consultation, said, ''since millet farmers can be completely rainfed, they save near six million litres of water per acre for the nation. The biodiversity inherent in their farming systems help fix carbon in the soils, thereby responding to a critical climate change concern.'' ''Millet farming also represents multiple securities such as food, fooder, fibre, health, nutrition, livelihood and ecological securities. All these potentials of millet farming systems entitle the millet farmers to the ecological bonus from a grateful nation,'' the Declaration said.

Affirming that millets could be the only answer to malnutrition haunting India, which was placed below sub-Saharan nations in nutritional status, the Declaration called for introduction of millets in Integrated Child Development Scheme, mid-day meal programme in schools and social welfare hostels.

The Declaration also demanded that the Government use the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act to support millet farming, especially on the fields of small and marginal farmers, from sowing to harvesting. This would not only result in the resurrection of millet farming but also move farmers out of agrarian crisis they were facing.

The Declaration sought extension of institutional finance and insurance, generously offered to farmers cultivating wheat and paddy and non-food commercial crops, to millet farmers too.

Consumption of millets should be promoted among the burgeoning health-conscious urbanites. A new farmer-led research on millet farming system should be initiated by the agricultural research institutions and universities to bring an exciting perspective and agenda to millet farming, the Declaration added.

UNI SM VA ROY RL NS1732

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