The minor millet, with duration of 90 days, was raised on three acres of land and he is able to harvest an average 900 kg an acre.
“The kuthiraivali is a minor millet which can be raised on any dry land or wasteland,” says farmer Appavu Balandar.
The crop requires minimum irrigation facility and is suited for areas with less or poor rainfall in the district, he says. It could withstand drought-prone conditions up to 45 days. Against an investment of Rs. 2,500, the crop is expected to fetch prospective returns anywhere between Rs.11,000 and Rs.15,000 depending upon the demand in the market as the produce was priced between Rs. 15 and Rs. 20 a kg, according to the farmer. The crop was being revived through an initiative by Rose, a non-governmental organisation, which has been motivating farmers to re-discover the conventional crops which were raised in this part of the region.
According to the farmer, it could be raised as an alternative to paddy.
The crop is free from any pest attack or disease. Less expenditure on cultivation and labour were the major advantages of this minor millet. There was a growing demand for the millet as it could be utilised for various dishes on the lines of rice. Akila, coordinator of the non-governmental organisation, said the minor millet was raised in several villages in the district for the past few decades but had been given up in course of time.
Apart from economy, the millet was an ideal healthy dish, with less calorie and more fibre content.
About 150 farmers in and around Annavasal, Arimalam, and Andakulam blocks had been motivated to raise the conventional crops such as kuthiraivali, varagu, saamai, and thinai All the rain-fed and even dry lands could be brought under this minor millet, they say.
C. Manoharan, District Collector, inspected the fields on Thursday and saw the crop which was about to be harvested.