Read full article By Nandan Tayade, Sunil Gomashe, Ganapathy KN and Dinesh Chand@ The Global Plant Council Photo Credit: Global Plant Council
Millets are a group of highly nutritious climate resilient small seeded grasses, widely grown around the world as cereal crops or grains for fodder and human food. Millets are particularly important crops in the semi-arid tropics of Asia and Africa, where they contribute to 97% of millet global production. Millet’s productivity and short season under dry, high-temperature conditions make them a favourite among farmers in those environments. Generally, these are rain fed crops grown in areas with low rainfall and thus resume greater importance for sustained agriculture and food security.
Considering the importance of these nutritious small grain crops the U.N. General Assembly recently adopted a resolution, sponsored by India and supported by more than 70 countries, declaring year 2023 as the International Year of Millets. The resolution is meant to extend public awareness on the health edges of millets and their suitableness for cultivation beneath robust conditions marked by global climate change.
The practice of consuming millets as part of the daily diet is not new to India. Millets had been the major staple food in central to southern India and hilly regions of Uttarakhand for centuries till the time of the Green Revolution.
In general millets are rich source of fibre, minerals and B-complex vitamins. Yet, high fibre content and presence of some anti-nutritional factors like phytates and tannins in millets affect bioavailability of minerals.
This post aims to include the nutritional profile of small millets viz.ragi (finger millet), korra (foxtail millet), arke (kodo millet), sama (little millet), chena/barr (proso millet) and sanwa (barnyard millet). Almost all the millets are used for human consumption in most developing countries, however their use has been primarily restricted to animal/ bird feed in developed countries.