Millets resistant to drought
“In the past, people used millets… They were happy. There was no starvation, no malnutrition. In the present we have that situation, but if you want the future to be beautiful, secure and happy, we should plan immediately to grow more millet. Only thus we can solve the problems of food insecurity and malnutrition.” Narayanna Reddy, Indian farmer and activist
Millets grow well even in areas where the amount of rainwater is low (300 mm), especially with high evapotranspiration (temperatures > 30˚).
Millets have an exceptional rejuvenating capacity: they “sweat” very little : they belong to plants called “C4”.
- 95 to 98% of plants on earth are of the C3 type, which are called ‘primitive’ due to their existence prior to the arrival of C4 plants. CO2 elimination is low; the process is water-intensive as the plant “sweats” during this operation.
- Plants belonging to the C4 type have a different process of CO2 capture, which happens in two phases and is more efficient. The plant “sweats” very little, and this is therefore really water-saving.
- Instead of making use of the natural advantages of millets, scientists persist on trying to convert rice and wheat into C4, through genetic modification.