On the contrary to maize, kurakkan is solely utilized for human consumption, gaining popularity as a relief food for diabetics. A shift in farming systems traditionally devoted to crop is seen due to more farmers favoring irrigated transplanted kurakkan cultivation to traditional rainfed farming which was liable to get damaged by frequent droughts. Yields per unit area land has increased due adoption of improved cultivation practices and at the same time land area cultivated has continually dropped due to shift from highlands to lowlands cultivated.
Finger millet is a popular food among diabetic patients in the country. Its slow digestion indicates low blood sugar levels after a finger millet diet thereby reacting as a safer food for diabetics.
Presently it is grown in Anuradapura, Monoragala, Hambantoda , Kegalla, Ratnapura , Nuweraliya Ampara Badulla and Jaffna districts
Seeds of the varieties Ravi and Ravana are produced and distributed by the Department of Agriculture (DOA) as early maturity and high yielding varieties.
Varietal characteristics of Ravi and Ravana
Finger millet is an importent food crop grown in rainfed uplands in the Dry zone and Intermediate zone of Sri Lanka. It is one of the few crops that can be grown during in low land paddy fields during yala season if water logging is prevented. Finger millet grows wel in all well-drained soils but silt loams are the most desirable. It grows well on Reddish brown earth, Calcic red yellow latasols and sandy regosols.
a. Millets are traditionally grown on newly cleared chenas during maha season and are usually planted without land preparation
b. Higher yields can be obtained in cultivated fields if the soil is worked to a fine tilth with a disc harrow or mammoty
c. In upland seeds should be planted in moist soil and protected them biological hazards.
d. The raise beds or the basin systems can be adapted for irrigation.
Planting and spacing
a. Broad casing - millets are commonly sown by broadcasting
b. Row sowing - Row sowing permits easy weed control and higher yield. Sow seeds thinly in rows 30 cm apart for final spacing of one plant every 10-15 cm.
c. Transplanting -20-25 days old seedlings can be transplanted in rows 30 cm apart for a final spacing of one plant every 10-15 cm.
Tillering is reduced if over aged seedlings are transplanted.
TSP 50 kg/ha
After transplanting the seedlings, irricate the field once in every 4-5 days until seedlings are established .During dry period supplementary irrigation is provided at weekly intervels.
Millet seedlings are slow growing and require a weed free environment for 45 days to develop vigorous plants. Seedlings in rows facilitates weed control.
No severe insect pests have been reported on finger millet in Sri Lanka .But plants are damaged by stem borer during yala season.
Identification of damage - Typical dead hart in older plants larvae are found in the stem
Blast (Pyricularia spp) : Plants are attected by blast mainly during maha season
Symptoms - Diamond shaped, greyish white lesions boardered by a brown margin develop on leaves. Seedlings may be killed under epidemic condition, empty fingers and broken pardicles
Harvesting & Post-harvest Technology
Economics & Marketing
Exports and Imports of Finger millet
Cost of Cultivation for rainfed Kurakkan 2000/01
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