Revalorising Small Millets in Rainfed Regions of South Asia
An Action Research Project to Raise the Profile of Small Millets

About the Project

The action research project ‘Revalorising Small Millets in Rainfed Regions of South Asia’ aims to increase production and consumption of nutritious small millets and associated pulse and oil seed crops in rainfed regions of India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. It focuses on overcoming existing constraints related to production, distribution and consumption of small millets and associated crops. It pursues a multi-pronged research strategy related to conservation, productivity enhancement, value addition, post-harvest processing, promotion and policy action to raise the profile of small millets. The project has selected six research sites in the backward and tribal dominated pockets of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Jharkhand states of India and one site each in Sri Lanka and Nepal.


The major objective of the action research is to increase production and daily consumption of nutritious small millets, pulses and oil seeds in rainfed regions of India, Nepal and Sri Lanka by using gender sensitive participatory approaches to address constraints related to the production, distribution, and consumption of underutilized species. This project has the following specific objectives.

  • To promote sustainable use and on farm conservation of agro biodiversity of small millets that are important for minimizing climate change related risks in agriculture and improving human and animal health in rainfed ecosystems.
  • To develop sustainable agriculture kits, through gender sensitive farming system based participatory research, for minimizing agronomic and production related constraints experienced by small millets based cropping systems in rainfed regions.
  • To develop and adapt appropriate post-harvest technologies and add value for increasing consumption of small millets, especially among rural women and children, and to create sustained demands in local markets.
  • To revitalize indigenous knowledge and sociocultural practices that augment cultivation, processing, storage, and utilization of small millets.
  • To enhance the consumption and social status of small millets as a wholesome foods in rural and urban settings.
  • To undertake policy analysis and advocate for a policy environment that counterbalances incentives for green revolution crops and provides a level playing field for production and consumption of small millets.

The expected major outputs of the project are as follows:

  • Significant improvement in food availability and nutrition levels of women and children.
  • Increase in production of minor millets and pulses by 20 to 25 per cent.
  • Increase in spatial distribution and richness of genetic diversity of minor millets on farmers’ fields.
  • Site specific sustainable agriculture kits for cultivation of underutilized species.
  • Development of at least three low cost technologies for processing and value addition of target species.
  • Scaling up of at least two value added products from minor millets either by local entrepreneurs or public institutions.
  • Practice manual or recipe book on the cultural and nutritional significance of minor millets and other underutilized species.
  • A policy brief for supporting consumption and production of millets and supporting sustainable agriculture.
  • Academic and non-academic publications including a book documenting indigenous technologies and practices. The project will organize two workshops and a national policy meeting to disseminate findings.