In the heart of Telangana lies Zaheerabad, a small town with a big mission. Here, a group of women is spearheading a millet revolution, one that is transforming the agricultural landscape and empowering women in the region.
For centuries, millets have been a staple food in India, but with the rise of industrial agriculture and the dominance of rice and wheat, millets were pushed to the sidelines. However, millets are now making a comeback, thanks to the efforts of these women in Zaheerabad.
The women of Zaheerabad, who are primarily from the Lambadi tribe, have been cultivating millets for generations. However, with the advent of hybrid varieties, chemical fertilizers, and pesticides, traditional millet cultivation was abandoned in favor of more profitable crops.
Realizing the negative impact of industrial agriculture on their health and the environment, the women decided to revive the traditional methods of millet cultivation. They formed self-help groups and started growing millets on their own farms using organic farming methods. The women were trained in seed conservation, land preparation, sowing, weeding, and harvesting. They also learned how to process and package the millet for sale.
The millet revolution in Zaheerabad has had a transformative impact on the region. It has not only revived traditional farming practices but has also created a sustainable source of income for women. Millets are drought-resistant and require less water and fertilizer compared to other crops. This makes them an ideal crop for the region, which is prone to drought.
The women are now selling their millets under the brand name “Mana Muddu” (our sweet) in local markets and online. Their millets have gained popularity not only for their nutritional value but also for their unique taste. The women have also started a millet café, where they serve traditional millet-based dishes, giving people a taste of the past.
The millet revolution in Zaheerabad has not only empowered women but has also contributed to the conservation of traditional seeds and the preservation of the environment. It is a shining example of how small communities can make a big impact on the world.