MILLETS, FOOD SOVEREIGNTY AND CLIMATE CHANGE
Experience Sharing and Perspective Building Workshop
April 21 & 22, 2010
MANAGE, Rajendranagar, Hyderabad
For any country in the world, the food, nutritional and livelihood security of its people, especially farming communities is the backbone of its existence and survival. This reality remains critical for India too. Yet, we are all aware of the current trends show otherwise. In India, statistics reveal that 50% of the country's children are malnourished and 75% of women suffer from anaemia, and today farmers are facing multiple crisis. Aggravating the farming crises is an unprecedented drought and looming climate change crisis, and so there is an urgent need for a paradigm shift in shaping the food and farming futures. In this context, Millet based biodiverse farming systems cultivated across the length and breadth of our country, and their relevance as climate change compliant crops becomes far more important than ever before:
(a) Millets need very little water for their production. They need no irrigation and require just around 25% of the rainfall regime demanded by crops such as sugarcane and banana. Thus, they do not burden the state with demands for irrigation or power;
(b) Millets are adapted to a wide range of ecological conditions often growing on skeletal soils that are less than 15 cm deep. It does not demand rich soils for their survival and growth. Hence, for the vast dryland area, they are a boon;
(c) Millet production is not dependent on the use of synthetic fertilizers. Most millet farmers therefore use farmyard manures and in recent times, household produced biofertilisers.
(d) Grown under traditional methods, millets can be termed pest-free crops. A majority of them are not affected by storage pests either. Therefore, their need for pesticides is close to nil.
Thus, they are a great boon to the agricultural environment and to turn our states into green and organic. Yet they have suffered neglect both in government policies and research centres, perpetrating a reduction in millet area over the last few decades. At this most significant juncture of human civilization, the importance of millets needs to be resurrected.
It is in this context DDS in association with Fedkorpset is organising this two-day experience sharing consultation on Millets, Food Sovereignty and Climate Change at MANAGE, Hyderabad on April 21st & 22nd, 2010 . We are conscious of the fact that you have been an active supporter of health based food cultures and lifestyles, and we take this opportunity to cordially invite to participate, share your views and learn from the experiences of Nutritionists, Dietitians and Doctors about millets as essential grains for India's nutritional security. The outcomes of the discussions and your valuable recommendations will also enable to bring out public policies that encourage the use of millets in regular diet and rebuild health standards of our people.
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