Hyderabad: Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao proposed to establish cold storage facility at every mandal headquarter in the State, Agriculture Minister S Niranjan Reddy said on Monday. He said discussions were on regarding irrigation facility, crop colonies, support price for agriculture produce, setting up a network of cold storages and agriculture warehouses. Because of the many efforts of the government, mangoes from Telangana were being exported to the UK for the first time, he said.
The Minister was addressing farmers and officials at an awareness programme on millets cultivation jointly organised by the Water Management Forum, The Institute of Engineers Forum, Telangana chapter, Telangana Retired Engineers Forum and Rythu Nestham here.
The Minister said that efforts were being made to reduce the use of fertilisers and for recycling of eco-system in the State. The 24-hour free power supply, Rythu Bandhu and Rythu Bhima schemes had given a boost to the farmers’ morale in Telangana. “The Chief Minister always aspires to see the farmers happy. Because of continuous efforts and integrated agriculture system, farmers suicides have been brought to a halt in the State,” Niranjan Reddy said.
Niranjan Reddy and several other speakers suggested that the mission mode plan of action was needed to promote the cultivation of millets in Telangana. They also wanted research into the creation of a new variety of seeds and to direct farming community to adopt millets cultivation.
Without offering an alternative, it was not possible to wean the farmers away from their existing cultivating habits, he said, adding that millets cultivation was not new to farmers of Telangana. If the farmers were sure of getting a profitable price for their produce, they would turn to it, the experts felt. Millets are highly nutritious, rich in fibre and gluten-free, and are easily absorbable by all while rice basically suits those doing hard work. There was a need to promote millets cultivation both for the welfare of the farmers and the public, they added. State Farmers Coordination Committee president Gutha Sukhender Reddy, Water Management Forum chairman V Prakash and others were present.
‘Millets, only solution for all problems’
Krishi Ratna Dr Khadar Vali on Monday said the time has come for people to reject the ‘chemical-based industrial food culture’ and adopt an ecological model which was the only sustainable way to save nature and all the living beings part of it.
Addressing a large gathering of natural farming enthusiasts here, which was jointly organised by the Mahabubnagar Government Hospital, Rythu Nestham and Grama Bharathi, Dr Khadar Vali raised the issues of farming, diet, health and how they were all inter-related and affect the very existence in today’s world. He said that growing millets and incorporating millets in the daily diet was the only way to solve the maladies affecting people’s health.
Recalling how our forefathers had passed on a way of life to us which was a natural way to do farming and following a very healthy diet, he said: “In the past 50 years, we have gone in the path of self-destruction, driven by the failed food and agriculture policies of our rulers.” “You take any disease today, 30 per cent of people in the society have it. 16 per cent of the people are taking pills for BP and Diabetes even before turning eighteen. Due to their dietary habits, 30 per cent of people living in the US have become vulnerable to diseases like Parkinsons and Alzheimers. Due to residues coming from the process of food production, hormonal changes can be seen in children as old as three years,” he observed.
He said that using chemical fertilisers and pesticides to achieve higher yields has not only destroyed the fertility of the soil but has also polluted oceans and air in an irreconcilable way. He also said that growing coffee and tea in estates across the world has not only been one of the major causes for climate change that we see presently but has also destroyed the lives and lifestyle of tribals living in those areas where they are grown.
Pointing out that 48 per cent of the world’s coral reefs were already destroyed, he cautioned that if the numbers reached 100 per cent, all the marine living organisms would be wiped-off from the face of the earth. If there is another 2 per cent increase in temperature due to climate change, it would not be possible to grow rice and wheat anymore, he noted.
He said that the only way to save the earth and our health was to grow millets, which he said, contained soluble fibre, which purifies our body. He also said that there was no need to eat meat or eggs to get protein, as millets have the purest form of protein which is found in them abundantly. He explained how consuming millets in daily diet could cure even the most chronic of diseases, saving people the ordeal of going to hospitals for cure and ending up with even more diseases.
“Just imagine, for producing 1 kg of rice, our government is spending Rs 780 on building large irrigation projects and all the costs associated with it. Then governments give us the deal of buying rice for Rs 2 per kg. By eating this rice we are falling sick. He said that one way to preserve the fertility of the soil was to grow some forest species in every acre of land so that they could provide nutrients to the soil and help micro-organisms in it to thrive. He said the best way to farming was the grow 60 per cent millets, pigeon pea or sesame in some part, turmeric, flowering plants and some other useful crops in every acre, so that food security could be achieved and daily needs of families and that these crops could benefit each other and act as natural fertilizers and pesticides.
“If we want to see a positive change, we immediately have to re-incorporate the ideas of our forefathers into our soils, our bodies and our agricultural policy,” he stressed. Padmashree Dr Dasari Padma Rao, former Director of NIMS, Padmashree Venkateshwar Rao, founder of Rythu Nestham, Senior Journalist Pasham Yadagiri, Sakshi Editor Rambabu, Retired Engineers Association State General Secretary Shyam Prasad Reddy, Mahabubnagar Government Hospital Superintendent Dr D Ramkishan, progressive farmer Lavanya Reddy and others were the speakers at the seminar conducted on farmers, health and millets.