Read full article By Vidya Raja@ The Better India Photo Credit: The Better India
For two decades, Telangana’s Veer Shetty Biradar — the founder of SS Bhavani Foods — has been making millets like sorghum, bajra, foxtail millet and finger millet accessible to the masses.
From working various odd jobs, which included driving a truck, to today running a company with an annual turnover upwards of Rs 1 crore — Veer Shetty Biradar has a very inspiring story.
Often referred to as the Millet Man of Telangana, Veer says, “I am the eldest of three sons and come from a family of farmers. We were not very financially sound and that was one of the reasons I had to quit studying after I completed Class 9.” He hails from Gangapur village, Jharasangam mandal in Sangareddy district.
Looking back at an incident that shaped his life, the 50-year-old says, “In 2006 I was travelling to Beed in Maharashtra. All through my journey, there was not one place where I could find either a decent meal or even something small to eat. That was the first time I experienced hunger and starvation.” What struck him the most was how people in that district were used to that life.
“I could not forget that feeling. Even after I came back to Telangana I kept thinking of how I could help the people in Beed. I wanted to produce food for the future generations after coming back from Maharashtra,” says Veer.
So, he started by growing sorghum and millets. “The fact that both these crops required less water and could grow in adverse weather conditions was a huge plus. Also, the nutritional value of these crops is very high.”
Since Veer came from a family of farmers, he had a basic understanding of growing food. He says, “My training as an assistant to Dr C H Ravindra Reddy, who was the principal scientist in the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), helped me immensely.”