Barnyard millet (Echinochloa spp.): a climate resilient multipurpose crop

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Keywords: Barnyard millet, Food security, Climate resilient, Crop diversification, Sustainable agriculture, Orphan cereal


Abstract


Crop diversification can help to reduce the existing pressure on agriculture and to meet food requirements of the mushrooming population. Millets are a viable choice for sustainable agriculture and belong to underutilized crops limited to smallholder farmers. Cereals such as barnyard millet are bestowed with superior nutritional profile and can better withstand biotic and abiotic stress conditions. Although they occupy a lower position as a feed crop, braving the worst sets of odds these are to the far best suited crops to cope up with the vagaries of climatic conditions and thus can promise safe agricultural future and nutritional security of the world. This review highlights importance of millets with major focus on “Barnyard millet”. It is one of the hardiest multipurpose crop with wide adaptability to adverse climatic conditions. It is regionally abundant but globally rare, scientific knowledge is also scant about its genetic resources and thus it is facing limited use relative to the potential benefits it can offer. Its remarkable climate resilient properties make its survival easy in harsh and fragile environments as it require minimal agricultural inputs. Germplasm of barnyard millet can prove to be a reservoir of unique alleles to the breeders. Despite of its enormous potential, the crop has not gained popularity among masses. Conserving traditional biodiversity compounded with modern genomic tools can accelerate its production and fill the yield gaps thereby promoting sustainable cropping practices and growing crops best suited to the respective regions, instead of forcefully changing the cropping pattern. Efforts are needed for enhancing its cultivation and acceptance nationwide as a cereal occupying common food basket. Review highlights nutritional quality, stress tolerance and antimicrobial properties of Echinochloa spp. Besides, constraints limiting its production, breeding objectives, germplasm collections and efforts required to promote its acceptance worldwide are also highlighted.


Barnyard millet, Food security, Climate resilient, Crop diversification, Sustainable agriculture, Orphan cereal


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Acknowledgements


Authors are thankful to department of microbiology and Director Experiment Station, GBPUAT Pantnagar for providing all the facilities and resources.


Author Information


Maithani Damini
Department of Microbiology, Govind Ballabh Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, Pantnagar, India
daminimaithani27@gmail.com
Sharma Anita
Department of Microbiology, Govind Ballabh Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, Pantnagar, India


Gangola Saurabh
School of Agriculture, Graphic Era Hill University, Bhimtal, India


Bhatt Pankaj
State Key Laboratory for Conservation and Utilization of Subtropical Agro-Bioresources, Guangdong Province Key Laboratory of Microbial Signals and Disease Control, Integrative Microbiology Research Centre, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou, People’s Republic of China


Bhandari Geeta
Department of Biotechnology, Sardar Bhagwan Singh University, Dehradun, India

Dasila Hemant
Department of Microbiology, Govind Ballabh Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, Pantnagar, India