Main Article Content
The red and lateritic zone (RLZ) of Eastern India comprises of south-west part of West Bengal, a part of Odisha and Jahrkhand grimly a low position in respect of yield levels compared to many other parts of India. Soil of this area is poor in inherent fertility status with low to medium available nutrients of phosphorus, potassium and calcium. Most of the lands are located on higher elevation and erosion hazards and gully formation are very common. Monsoon rainfall is erratic or unevenly distributed in this region and, thus partial or even total failure of rainfed crops is very common. The major parts of this zone are rainfed, rice-fallow based mono-cropped and cropping intensity of the region is between 125-130%. This region of India is home of millions of resource-challenged small and marginal farmers having poor food and nutritional vis-à-vis economic security. To alleviate this grim situation of drought prone RLZ of Eastern India, intensification of Rice-fallow by inclusion of suitable crops was one the major challenges due to several bio-physical constraints. In this context, being the climate resilient and drought tolerant crops, millets may be the best choice for the rice-based crop sequence, any fallow and marginal land, agro-forestry system or even for popularizing any millet-based crop sequence for escalating the level of livelihood of the small and marginal farmers of the dry tract of RLZ. The objective is to develop a model using implementing millet-based cropping system to address food and nutritional security for the regions like RLZ of eastern India. Available research data on millet production feasibility in the region was used. A multidisciplinary approach was used for value-addition and small-scale agri-industry. In this present paper, we conceptualized the current status, prospects and research strategies for augmenting the millet production system to improve the food and nutritional security across drought prone and red laterite region of Eastern India. We believe that same model can be applied elsewhere in the world with agro-climatic conditions like RLZ.