UP to include millets in midday meals, says minister
Lucknow, March 19 (IANS) Uttar Pradesh agriculture minister Surya Pratap Shahi has said that millets will now be included in the midday meal programme in schools and will also be made available to people through public distribution system.
He said that the state government was continuously engaged in the promotion of millets cultivation, production and consumption besides increasing farmers' income through it.
"By including millets in the midday meals, we want to increase the nutrition being provided to children and also help them develop a taste for millets," he said.
The minister also said the government was also working for the betterment of soil health and that of people.
Shahi said, "Uttar Pradesh is the most populous state in India and the fourth largest in terms of area and the state's land is suitable and conducive for cultivation of coarse grains."
"Currently 12 lakh-hectare of land in UP is under coarse grains cultivation which produces 19 lakh metric tonnes of these grains. With the inspiration of the Prime Minister and under the leadership of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, the state government is running 'Shree Anna Punaruddhar Karyakram (Shree Anna rejuvenation programme)' with a proposed expenditure of Rs 186 crore in the next four years," he added.
He said that various millet feasts were being organised in the state for the promotion of millet.
"In the next Zaid season (summer season), the government will provide a Rs 20 crore subsidy to farmers (on a 50 per cent grant) for Jowar and Bajra seeds. The 89 Krishi Vigyan Kendras and five agriculture universities in the state are engaged in research and education to farmers regarding coarse grains. The state government will also open special procurement centres to procure coarse grains from farmers on MSP," Shahi added.
It was on March 5, 2021 when the United Nations General Assembly, while accepting India's proposal, declared 2023 as the International Year of Millets.