By Sher Bahadur Sharki, Bajura, Nov. 1: Farmers in Bajura district did not pay much attention to Kodo millet production in the past as it had no market and yielded little value although it could be produced very well in the district.
But now, the farmers are attracted to it, thanks to Agriculture Knowledge Center (AKC) that marketed organic Kodo millet, Paspalum scrobiculatum, grown here across the country, which in turn increased its demand and the monetary value.
As the organic Kodo millet is very good and nutritious for health, the AKC has held different programme to get it recognised in different cities of the country, and this has boosted its demand and interest of the farmers to grow it for cash income.
Lately, there has been a rise in production of the local Dalle Temase and Kaiya millet in the district.
Even though the millet is regarded to provide enough nutrient to the body, the farmers in the district had started giving up its production.
Bajura AKC knew that the production of Kodo millet had gone down as the farmers of the district had not shown interest in farming it as it was not diversified as food items and its distribution was also limited.
In the eastern northern part of the district, Swami Kartik, Himali, Jagannath Rural Municipalities and Budhinanda Municipality are among the places where millet is produced well.
Similarly, it is also grown in Triveni, Chhededaha and Selapakha Badeda, Sigada and Nuwakot areas of Budhiganga municipality.
Cultivation of Kodo millet started declining in the district as millet was grown only in the dry slope farmland and non-irrigated areas while other crops were being planted in irrigated areas.
However, majority of the farmers from north-eastern areas have been cultivating millet.
A local, Buddhi Rawat, said that there had been a millet cultivation in many areas of the Triveni and Chededaha Rural Municipality.
Last October, the training to make cake, snacks and other dishes from millet was imparted to the farmers with an aim to increase the millet production at par with other food grains.
Last year, 3,500 quintals of millet produced in Bajura was sold in different cities of the country, said Meen Prasad Jaishi, Information Officer at the AKC Bajura.
He said that many farmers of Bajura had started showing greater interest in millet farming since the introduction of this programme.
According to the AKC, there is 2, 37,000 hector of land in Bajura, of which, only 5,235 hector is land is irrigated out of 22,000 hector of cultivable land. Kodo millet is cultivated, however, in the non- cultivable type of land of the district.
Millet production occupies only 15 percent in Bajura, in comparison to the paddy and wheat, a native crop planted in Bajura.