Protein : 11.2 (G)
Iron : 15.2 (Mg)
Fiber : 10.1 (G)
Calcium : 11 (Mg)
Minerals : 4.4 (G)
Barnyard Millet – A potential crop for food and nutritional security
Small millets refer to a group of small seeded cereal like finger millet, proso millet, barnyard millet, italian millet, kodo millet, little millet etc. They are grown across Indian subcontinent, from northern Himalayan region to the extreme southern tip.
Amongst all small millets, barnyard millet which is commonly known as Sanwa, Madira and Jhangora is an important food crop of India’s Himalayan region especially in the hills of Uttarakhand since ancient immemorial time. The farmers of hilly terrain have traditionally used barnyard millet as essential food crop, as it can be farmed on diverse soil fertility conditions, varying rainfall regimes and in widely differing temperatures. In India, it is also grown in Madhya Pradesh., Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Bihar etc.
Barnyard millet being a climate change resistant crop, also produces multiple securities like food, nutrition, fodder, fiber, health, livelihood and ecology, while staple food crops such as rice and wheat can only succeed in producing food security.
Barnyard millet is a store-house of nutrition and hence is an excellent candidate for nutritional security.
In comparison to major food crop such as rice it has higher fiber content i.e., 9.8g/100g, fat content 5.8g/100g, calcium 14mg/100g, iron content 18.6 mg/100g etc.
Barnyard millet also has edible stalks which are most favored fodder for cattle. No doubt that barnyard millet is a multi-utility crop. Recent years have seen several food products being developed using grains of barnyard millet including flakes, biscuits, snacks, breads etc.
Besides being seen as exceptional nutritional crop, barnyard millet is climate change resistant too. As climate change intensifies, in the coming future it is likely that traditional staple crops such as rice and wheat will become unviable as food security crops. Wheat for example will simply disappear from the farming system due to increase in temperature and Rice which needs standing water for their cultivation on the other hand are the producers of methane gas promoting global warming. Millets are the only solution for our food and farming systems since they are already capable of growing under drought conditions and can withstand under higher heat regimes.
It is time that we recognize the importance of small millets especially barnyard millet which contributes a big part in climate change and nutritional security.