Bumper crop yield in Koraput’s tribal blocks

Koraput: A five-fold rise in the yield of ragi crop this season has brought smile on the face of many tribal farmers of Kundura block of Koraput district.
 
From the earlier two quintals output, this time a small patch of land of one Trilochan Paraja has yielded 10 quintals after he adopted better agronomic practices.
 
Like Paraja, many tribal farmers of six villages in the block are now basking in the bumper harvest of millet.
 
"Earlier, we kept the entire harvest for our consumption but now we can sell it and strengthen our economic condition", said Nakula Penthia of Kaudiaguda village.
 
According to scientists of MS Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF), Jeypore, though millet is a major cereal crop of tribals in Koraput district, farmers failed to get a bumper yield because of adverse agro-climatic conditions like low fertility and erratic monsoon.
 
"We had taken up 210 acres of land for millet production on an experimental basis and advised the land owners to use modern technology like tractor and high-yielding and it has yielded results", said a scientist of the foundation Chaudhury Shripati Mishra.
 
Also, to realize the nutritional value of millets, at least 15 tribal women were sent for a training programme to the University of Agriculture Science, Karnataka.
 
"Millets have better potential quality compared to wheat and rice. Tribal women were trained about food diversification and higher inclusion of millets in the diet of the youth", he said.
 
Now a tribal woman also earns handsomely by preparing various items like laddu, millet malt and confectionery items from millets.
 
"We get a profit of around Rs 800 by spending Rs 500 to prepare around 10 kg of millet malt which is done by mixing finger millet, green gram and wheat", said Jamuna Pentia of Kaudiaguda.