Smart Food crops – millets and legumes – are highly nutritious. Millets are inherently rich in nutrients such as iron, calcium, and zinc. They are also high in fiber and have low glycemic indexes. Fermented millet products are beneficial in maintaining gut health due to their probiotic nature. Legumes are affordable protein sources that contribute towards building and repairing muscles and tissues. Combined together, millets and legumes form a potent dietary option that may reduce risks of diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Smart Food crops are most resilient and best survive the harsh environments present in the drylands. Hence, they are climate-smart crops.
In times of drought, millets are practically the last crop standing. Millets, sorghum and legumes have close to the lowest water and carbon footprints of all crops.
The climate resilience of these crops means that they are a good risk-management strategy for farmers. Legumes have an important role to play in soil nutrition and, when rotated with other crops, even increase the water-use efficiency of the entire crop rotation. Their multiple uses and untapped demand means that they have a lot more potential. Plus, unlike other crops they have not yet reached a yield plateau and have great potential for productivity increases.
About Smart Food
Some of the biggest global issues today are poor diets, environmental damage and poverty.
Smart Food – food that is good for you, the planet and the farmer – addresses all these issues in unison.
We need to bring in more diversity in our diets in order to tackle malnutrition, lifestyle diseases (e.g. diabetes) and environmental issues (e.g. climate change and water scarcity) along with poverty.
The Smart Food initiative will lead a campaign to drive demand for these underutilized foods and to develop farmer-integrated value chains for these crops. This will ensure that farmers and rural communities in Africa and India benefit from the development of diverse, healthful foods.
Six compelling reasons to switch to Smart Food
- Diabetes – Sorghum and millets have low glycemic index and therefore help keep blood sugar levels stable.
- Osteoporosis – Finger millet contains thrice the amount of calcium as milk, making it a great food for building stronger bones.
- Anemia – The high iron content in pearl millet helps combat anemia.
- Hypertension- Sorghum and millets are rich in antioxidants and help fight age-onset degenerative diseases.
- Pearl millet is high in iron, zinc and folic acid, which are critical for health of the mother as well as baby.
- Fermented millet products help to maintain a healthy digestive system due to their probiotic nature.
- Finger millet has three times the amount of calcium than milk. Calcium is essential for the growth of strong, healthy bones and teeth.
- Pearl millet and little millet are rich in iron which is important for making hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying red pigment in blood.
- Each time you replace some of the high carbon footprint foods such as rice and meat with millet, sorghum and legumes, you make a climate-smart choice – a small contribution that adds up eventually.