DEHRADUN: Cultivating millets is tougher than sowing rice or wheat as the latter is supported by the government. This was one of the views expressed by women who attended the Women Farmers Convention organized at village Simayal-Reetha in Nainital district two days ago.
The hardy millets are grown in the mountainous terrain as they can withstand the vagaries of the weather. They are more nutritious than wheat or rice but there is no governmental support for cultivating them, said women farmers at the convention.
Some 600 women farmers shared their experiences and problems with experts at a Women Farmers Convention organized by an NGO, Gene Campaign.
Another group of farmers who cultivate vegetables complained that when they buy seed from the market, they are often cheated with spurious seeds.
Sushila Devi, a farmer from Simayal, said many like her had received training in vermicomposting. She urged the government to subsidize vermicomposting so that each family could afford to have its own compost pit to improve its agricultural output and contribute towards increasing food production.
Suman Sahai, chairperson of the NGO, said, “Our focus has been on making agriculture and food production sustainable and climate resilient, conserving traditional varieties of crops and setting up seed banks to give farmers more seed choice, improving household nutrition by developing homestead gardens and reviving nutrition rich plants like nettles and ferns that is being abandoned.”
The purpose of the convention was to create a platform for women farmers of the region to share knowledge and seeds with one another. It also provided an opportunity for women farmers to interact directly with district and block-level officials, agriculture scientists, panchayat leaders and local political leaders.