Participants at an ecotourism activity conducted by NGO Kudumbam
Kodo Millet, also known as varagu, kodo, haraka and arakalu is grown in places including Uttar Pradesh, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. It forms the main stay of the dietary nutritional requirements. It has high protein content, low fat and very high fibre content. It is also rich in B Vitamins, B6, folic acid and minerals such as calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium and zinc.
These are tiny, white, round grains belonging to the millet family. Barnyard millet can produce ripe grain in 45 days from the sowing time under optimal weather conditions.
Small seeds of barnyard millet are processed and used for preparation of different types of porridges. The millet is predominantly starchy. Barnyard millet has the lowest carbohydrate content and energy value amongst all other varieties. Kudumbam, a Non Governmental Organization predominantly working with poor farmers in the rain-fed regions of Kunnandarkoil Union in Pudukkottai district has been promoting food security with the popularisation of millet and pulses. The activities include popularisation of cultivation and consumption of millets.
Training for farmers
Kudumbam has been encouraging farmers to revive their fallow lands through millet promotion. For the producers, it organises trainings and capacity building programmes on millet cultivation and millet seed production.
For the consumer awareness, the organisation organizes millet seed festival and seed exchange exhibitions in schools and colleges ajd recipe competitions on millets. It works for a favourable policy and support from State to encourage millet farmers.
Kudumbam also offers eco tourism for students from schools and colleges. The children at the local villages are also taken on a one-day Nature Walk, where they identify trees, shrubs, herbs, flowers and fruits.
(M.J. Prabu is The Hindu’s Agriculture correspondent. He writes the popular Farmer’s Notebook. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org)
‘Field’ trip for students of Tiruchi, PudukKottai regions