Promotion of millet cultivation

Project name:

Organic cultivation of Minor Millets as a means of sustainable agriculture and improve Food Security for small and marginal farmers in Trichy and Pudukottai Districts of Tamil Nadu

Project period :

April 2012 to March 2015- The original project has begun in 2008. The current phase began in April 2012

Short description of the project :

  • A network of three NGOs has been formed to implement this project.

  • 60 farmers are identified each year to implement the programme.
  • The beneficiaries are small and marginal farmers who are being motivated to cultivate minor millets on at least one acre of their land through organic method of farming.
  • The lands identified are fallow land. Agriculture on these lands is rain fed as there is no access to irrigation for these lands. Farmers are being motivated to take up millet cultivation which requires very little water.
  • Organic methods of farming are practiced to revive the soil health and also mitigate rising cost of inputs.
  • Consumption of millets in the daily diet of the farmers is also propagated to ensure food security and nutritional security in the community.
  • Besides, the partner organizations are taking up millet farming on leased lands for seed purpose. These leased land farming is being entrusted to Single Women farmers as a means of livelihood for them.

Sl No. Name of the Network Partner Names of Villages District
1. Velicham Trust Vadakkuthuvaravayal
2. Ahimsa Trust Kumaravadi Trichy
3. Ambedkar Social Trust Kottukaran Pudukottai

Goal of the project :

Change the fallow lands into cultivable lands through revival of traditional millets to ensure food security of rural communities

Objectives :

  • To ensure food security through cultivation of small and minor millets
  • To improve soil fertility by the way of bio inputs usage.
  • To increase agro bio Diversity
  • To ensure farmers’ own seeds by establishing seed banks
  • To provide additional income to farmers through millet milling centre and marketing
  • To sensitize the community on depletion of agro-biodiversity and bring back the endangered traditional food crops
  • To increase soil fertility for the sustainable harvest by crop rotation
  • To minimize high water prone crops and mono crops like paddy
  • To create environment maintaining balance between pest and predators

Achievements :

  • 320 acres have been brought under cultivation since 2008
  • 80% of beneficiaries are women. 50 % are Dalits
  • There is increase in income by Rs.1800/- per month for the beneficiary farmers
  • There is increased food security of 45-60 days by cultivation of millets
  • There is increased fodder availability for cattle for 30 days through harvesting millet straw
  • 12 women purchased gold from increased income
  • 1065 students gained awareness about millet food through awareness camps and food festivals in schools
  • Improved nutrition seen among children through consumption of millets
  • Grain Banks set up in project villages with 5 member committee to run the seed bank
  • Increased soil health observed in 2013-14 and no outbreak of disease reported
  • 10 varieties of millets being cultivated
  • Direct beneficiary farmers and other farmers have been trained on making organic inputs like fertilisers, pest control inputs, etc.
  • Farmers are practicing inter cropping for getting better yield
  • Farmers have realised the importance of bio diversity and are adopting organic pest control methods instead of pest eradication through chemical methods


Beneficiary farmer displaying yield of black gram

Resource person demonstrating preparation of snacks with millets

Millet crop in beneficiary farmer field

Farmer leader addressing beneficiaries during seed distribution mela