Pearl millet (Bajra) also known as bulrush or cattail millet, is an important grain and forage crop in South Asia andAfrica.Pearl millet covers an estimated 31 million hectares worldwide– and is grown in more than 30 countries located in the arid and semi-arid tropical and subtropical regions of Asia, Africa and Latin America.India is the largest producer of pearl millet in Asia, both in terms of area and production.Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Gujarat and Maharashtra are the major producing states.
Conditions of Growth:
The crop is well adapted to agricultural areas that are afflicted by severe drought, poor soil fertility, and high temperatures. It also grows well in soils with high salinity or low pH (highly acidic). Because of its tolerance to such challenging environmental conditions, it is often found in truly marginal areas where other cereal crops, such as maize or wheat, cannot survive.Two to three harrowing followed by a ploughing is required to make the soil in the field to the fine tilth. Pearl millet is a crop of dry and warm climate and is grown in areas of 40-50 cm of annual rainfall. It seldom grows in those areas where the annual rainfall exceeds 100 cm. The ideal temperature for its growth is 25°-30°C. Bright sunshine after light showers is very useful in early stages of its growth.
Season and Area of Cultivation
It is a kharif crop which is sown between May and September and harvested between October and Feb./March. It is sown either as a pure or mixed crop with cotton, jowar and ragi. It is a rainfed crop and is seldom irrigated.
Facts and Figure
In India, area under pearl millet (Bajra) cultivation is around 7.5 million ha with the production of 9.7 million MT and productivity of 1.3 t/ha in 2016-17.Area and production under pearl millet (Bajra) crop showed a fluctuating trend over last two decades. Yield levels of pearl millet (Bajra) witnessed a high fluctuation from 2000-01 to 2009-10, but thereafter increasing trends has been recorded in yield till date.
In 2017, Major pearl millet (Bajra) exporting countries are India, Ukraine, Russia, France, China, and Austria.
Indonesia, Germany, Iran, Belgium, Korea, United Arab Emirates, Canada and Saudi Arabia.
Cost and Prices
In 2018-19, projected cost of production (A2+FLPer quintal) of pearl millet is Rs. 990. Recommended MSP for 2018-19 is Rs.1950 per quintal. MSP is 197 percent of cost A2+FL.