Thursday 5 July 2012

Maisui, the Fox tail millet of Tripura: Slowly disappearing with the decline of Shifting Cultivation.

   One traditional dessert item hill including plain would prepare in their household after the harvest of Jhum crop is Maisui Payesh. It is prepared using one kind of minor millet found in hilly areas of Tripura.
    The millet is popularly known as Maisui in Kokborok and Kwan chal in Bengali and Fox Tail Millet probably in English. This is basically grown in Jhum as secondary crop along with other crops. 
    This minor millet how it was introduced in the state was not known but how it is disappearing can be narrated fairly. This traditional Maisui, fox tail millet used to be found during the month of February and March after the harvest of Jhum Crop.
    Of course, production of Maisui was never considerable even in those days due to less area under cultivation and, its frequent usage as mixed crop with the primary Jhum crops. 
    Fox tail millet has limited usages in the state; this millet is mainly used for preparation of Payesh using milk, sugar / Gur and other items. It tastes very well; the size of the grain is almost the size of Suzi a popular wheat product found in the market. 
   But, this year, Maisui has not been spotted in the local market means, maisui is disappearing very rapidly in the state. This disappearance of fox tail millet from the state is due to decline of Jhum Cultivation or shifting cultivation in the state.
 When there is decline of shifting cultivation, then there would bound to be decline of Maisui or fox tail millet production in the state. 
   Jhum or shifting cultivation in the state is declining due to various factors so; Maisui or fox tail millet is taking the toll as it is grown in the Jhum field only. Disappearance of minor millet like Maisui would not make any difference to the people since there’s primary cereal Rice. 
    But, with the loss of this would affect in the diversity and food security in the long rum. It is not only the Maisui the minor millet; there are many local varieties of rice, sesamum, sorghum,chillies,spices and vegetable crops that are also slowly disappearing with the decline of the shifting cultivation.
 These local species needs its proper conservation and preservation; this is highly essential for the future usages.          
                                              Agritangkol dated 04-07-2012

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