Due to drought many farmers in State are getting into cultivation of Browntop millet (Koralu), apart from the traditional cultivation of tobacco, paddy, sugarcane. An average 5 tonnes of seeds have been distributed to farmers in State this year. Neighbouring Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh State farmers are also showing interest to grow this rare millet. The crop has turned boon for farmers who had left their lands barren without rain and reservoirs going dry.
Mandya Farmer Boregowda said: 'I obtained good yield in my first harvesting and have sow seeds for second time. Farmers are visiting my field to study and grow the crop in their barren lands. Marketing linkage and familarising crop is much needed.'
Sunanda, widow of a tobacco farmer in Periyapatna said: 'The crop is drought resistant and can be cultivated in any weather round the year. Even in the moisture of paddy land the crop can be grown and suitable for any climate. Have decided to replace this crop with the tobacco.'
HD Kot farmer Channaraya said: “Is a great choice for less fertile soil. Good for straw production; for soil erosion and weed control. Have grown this crop under tamarind trees shades. For an acre we can obtain minimum 4 quintal of crop and water is not needed.'
NGO Sahaja Samrudha, an revival of traditional crops and seed knowledge is promoting farmers to grow this crop in large extent and providing marketing linkage. Founder Krishna Prasad opined that 'Climate change severely affecting the agricultural activities across country. This crops are grown largely in Africa and Asian countries. CFTRI should promote farmers to grow millets, and do research on this crops. An kg of rice can be sold for Rs 20 to 25,' he added.
Dr Khadar who conducts Millets Awareness Programmes said, hundreds of farmers including from neighbouring states are showing interest to grow this crop. “Its rich in essential nutrients. And very source of natural fibers, incomparably to any other whole grain. Oats has 11 per cent dietary fiber, whereas this crop as 17 per cent. The roti prepared out of it can be preserved for more than a month. Good for diabetic and cancer patients,” he added.
* Rich in dietary fiber compared to Oats
* Can be grown under tree shades, dry land, rain-fed crop
* Boon for mango, coconut, sapota growers
* Good for diabetic and cancer patients
* Short term crop (3.5 months) and suitable for any climate
* Rice sold for Rs 20 to 25 per kg