Millets travel from tribal farms to dinner tables

During a participatory appraisal helping Dongria Kondhs to cope with climate change, the ancient tribal community mulled which of their grains could grow under high temperature and which could grow under low and erratic rainfall. It emerged that specific varieties of indigenous millets can grow under conditions of more heat and with as few as two monsoon showers.

Indigenous farmers in India are again recognizing and asserting the value of millets, a cereal crop that was once central to their culture and is seen today as a perfect adaptation to ensure nutritional security in these times of climate distress.

As Dasara Kadraka lets the tiny russet-colored seeds flow from her cupped palms into an earthen storage pot, she remembers, At one time, Ive heard as a girl, we harvested 45 traditional varieties of millet. Even 10 years ago, we grew 11 varieties that went down to just two.