Finger millet, also known as Kodo, is a vital staple crop in Nepal, particularly in the hilly and mountainous regions where other crops such as rice and wheat may not thrive well. It is highly adaptable to different agro-climatic conditions and is often grown as a rain-fed crop. Makwanpur district is one of the major finger millet producing districts in Nepal, with Kalikhola of Makwanpurgadhi rural municipality being a major hotspot for its production, covering an area of about 300 hectares of agricultural land. The productivity of finger millet is 1.2 metric tons per hectare, thus contributing a total of 360 metric tons per year from this rural municipality. "Apaanga Tatha Bipanna Agriculture Cooperatives Ltd" of Makwanpurgadhi rural municipality ward no.4 has been continuously involved in the collection and marketing of finger millet as "Kalikhola's Kodo."
Importance of Finger millet
Food security: Finger millet is a hardy crop that can grow in poor soil and with little water, making it an important source of food security for many farmers in Nepal.
Nutritional value: Finger millet is high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals such as iron, calcium, and zinc. It is also a good source of protein and amino acids, making it a valuable food for vegetarians and vegans.
Gluten-free: Finger millet is gluten-free, making it a suitable alternative to wheat and other grains for people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance.
Versatility: Finger millet can be used to make a variety of foods such as kodoko roti (finger millet flatbread), kodokodaro (finger millet porridge), and fermented drinks (kodo ko raksi).
Health benefits: Finger millet is rich in antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties, which can help to reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer.
Cultural significance: Finger millet is an important crop in Nepal and other countries, and is deeply rooted in the cultural and traditional practices of many communities.
Environmental benefits: Finger millet is a crop that is well adapted to poor soil and weather conditions, and it can be grown with minimal use of agrochemicals, which makes it an environmentally friendly crop.