Millets for food and nutritional security
Dr Alpana Das
Sr. scientist (Biotechnology)
Division of Plant Breeding
ICAR Research Complex for NEH Region
Umiam – 793103
Small millets have been traditionally the
indispensable component of dryland
Six small millets :
finger millet (Eleusine coracana),
foxtail millet (Setaria italica),
kodo-millet (Paspalum scrobiculatum),
proso millet (Panicum millaceum)
barnyard millet (Echinochloa frumentacea)
little millet (Panicum sumatrnse)
Finger millet and foxtail millet are
grown in the north eastern region.
Finger millet (ragi) is the most
important of the small millets in
It is a short duration crop
usually grown under rainfed
Area under finger millet
cultivation in the north
eastern region was 43,800 ha
(2004) with production and
productivity of 32, 300 t and
737 kg/ha respectively
Finger millet is nutritionally superior to
rice and wheat and it provides a cheap
source of proteins, minerals and vitamins
to the rural tribal population.
Finger millet malt has shown many uses in
health food formulations besides infant food.
It is also grinded into flour which is used for
According to an estimate hill farmers
consume 80% millets, 10% other food
grains, 7% vegetables and pulses.
Twenty three (23) varietal trials were conducted in 23 locations
with nine varieties.
Muskey 5 (local variety) exhibited the mean highest yield
over all the locations.
The maximum yield of
Muskey 5 in Meghalaya was
19.44q/ha and in Sikkim it
Foxtail millet is grown in different parts
of India, China, Japan, South and east
Europe and North America.
Foxtail millet is the food of the tribal
people in most of the regions because of
its high nutritive value.
From the six varietal verification
trials conducted in Meghalaya and
Nagaland with 6 entries (SR11,
SR16, PRK 1, SIA 325, PS 4 and
KDR), PRK 1 yielded the best with