ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Growth and Decomposition of Nutri-cereals in India (1960–61 to 2019–20)

The decline in production growth for nutri-cereals was observed since the 1990s, and the decline for the same in terms of area growth was observed since the 1970s. With the United Nations adopting 2023 as the International Year of Millets, more needs to be done for these hitherto neglected, nutritionally benefi cial, and climate-resilient crops.

An earlier version of the article was presented at the 81st Annual Conference of Indian Society of Agricultural Economics, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University, Katra (Jammu and Kashmir), 1–3 December 2021. The usual disclaimers apply.

Greater incidence of malnutrition, including calorie deficiency, is observed in the semi-arid and dry subhumid hydro climates of the world (Wani et al 2009). About 50% of the world’s total calorie intake is derived directly from cereals (Awika 2011). In ­India, the increase in area under crops like rice, sugar cane, and cotton with ­intense water requirements has led to depletion of groundwater that could acc­elerate drylands expansion and adversely affect production of staple cereals (Sharma 2016). Further, procurement and public distribution of rice and wheat in India has transformed the staple diets from nutri-cereals (millets) to rice and wheat (Kumar 2019). Synthesising scientific evidence (Pingali et al 2019) shows how climate change has been influencing crop and livestock productivity, which in turn affects food and nutritional security.

In this context, cultivation of nutri-cereals, because of their nutritional advantages and climatic resilience that are grown under rain-fed conditions, assumes importance (Suresh et al 2014; Rao et al 2017; Bandyopadhyay et al 2017). Rain-fed agriculture in India is practised in 60% of the total cropped area, contri­buting to 48% of the area ­under food crops and 68% of that under non-food crops (Angles et al 2011). It can be inclusive and sustainable (Mishra et al 2013) and one can take advantage of its knowledge systems in variability and diversity through mixed cropping and cultivation of nutri-cereals (Raina et al 2015). Recognising their importance, the union government has issued a notification that replaces the usage of coarse cereals with nutri-cereals (Government of India 2018) and also introduced a draft resolution (A/75/L 63 under agenda item 14), leading to adoption of adopting Int­ernational Year of Millets, 2023 by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA 2021). Against this backdrop, this article exa­mines growth and instability of production, area and yield, and decomposition of production into area, yield and interaction effects for nutri-cereals and other crop groups.

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Updated On : 30th Apr, 2022
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