Millets have long been a staple of the regional diet in Northeast India because of their durability and high nutritional value. However, the rise in consumption of fine cereals, along with a subpar production system and inadequate compensation for millet farmers, have led to the decline of millet consumption and production. The low volume output is exacerbated by the lack of access to good-quality traditional seeds, fertilisers, and effective farming methods, coupled with changing patterns of climate.
Furthermore, poor market demand and a lack of pro-poor policies of the government make millet growing even more difficult. Farming communities have few options for generating revenue since limited efforts have been made to market and link millet-based products to markets. Thus, there is a need to support existing farming practices that generate agrobiodiverse landraces, develop climate-resilient cultivars, and facilitate platforms for the value addition of the product.
The existing primary processing of millets is labour-intensive and the lack of proper storage facilities results in poor-quality grains fetching low market prices. Thus, there is a need to develop infrastructure and build the capacity of farmers and other stakeholders along the millet value chain.