The current mainstream development discourse is riddled with a series of insecurities that burden the farming community. We truly believe that the damage done in the name of ‘farming advances’ can be repaired only by handing back the leadership to farmers, women and the excluded who through their awesome knowledge of farming and nature can bring back sanity to our development thinking. It is against this background that we must notice and endorse the eminent role millets can play in reinvigorating the agricultural sector. Food, farming, water, energy, climate change – name the crisis, and test the resourcefulness of millets to respond to it – you will be in for a revelation. One just wonders why our development thinkers and policy planners have failed to notice the awesome range of millet magic! Thus, our goal is to regain the lost place for millet crops in India to empower the poor majority of India most of who are dalits, adivasis and women.
- The millet-growing communities of India, who form the poorest 60% of the Indian population, have been strengthened and acknowledged.
- Their right to nutritious food, sustainable livelihoods, dignity, health and cultural heritage is ensured.
- Their marginalisation has been overcome by reclaiming millets into the farming and policy landscape of India.
- An Increased number of poor and vulnerable communities in the rainfed regions cultivate millets and regain control over food, farming and agro-biodiversity based livelihood, social harmony, culture and dignity.
- Farmers’ knowledge on millets is respected and built into policy formulations
- Alliances of farmers, consumers, policy makers, academicians and civil society groups are built.
- Increased Policy Support for inclusion of millets produced in the rural community environments
- Millets get increasing space in Public Food Systems
Therefore, we the Millet Network of India [MINI], do not see millets just as crops. For us millet is a concept embedded in our people’s food cultures, agricultural practices and above all its ability to help the millet farmer make her / his agriculture autonomous. The remarkable possibility that millet offers for an internal input based farming, free from chemicals and corporates: making millets as the new age answer to a new age crisis. Through their versatility, millet show us the way out of the web of disaster we have woven around our food and farming future.