Read Full article@SlurrpFarm Photo Credit : SlurrpFarm
Millets are imbued with nutritional benefits which have led to these grains being posited as a one-stop solution to resolve the crisis of malnourishment and food security issues. In our millet white paper project – part II, we covered how millets are climate-smart and all the superpower they posses.
Promoting and mainstreaming millets necessitates a multi-pronged approach. Awareness remains one of the most important factors in this revival. Lack of information leads to numerous questions among consumers, sometimes as elementary as what does each millet look like, whether they can be consumed through the year and how they are meant to be eaten. The queries tend to increase in regions where millets are not part of the staple diet or their consumption has been minimized over the years.
Strategies to disseminate information about the many types of millets apart from the commonly known jowar and bajra, means of processing, storing and incorporating them in meals and their nutritional benefits for specific deficiencies and ailments can play a major role. As consumers are motivated to choose these grains, the increased demand will impact production positively.
Steps to increase awareness:
Millets may be hailed as Noble Grains, but their status in the hierarchy of foods is low. Being perceived as food for the poor, these grains have almost disappeared from mainstream dietary habits. Attempts at spreading awareness must also include an effort at elevating the social status of millets and highlighting their role in ensuring a healthy diet. Subsidizing these grains through the Public Distribution System (PDS) and their inclusion in programs like the Mid-day Meal (MDM) scheme can also enable their proliferation.
It is also imperative to extend efforts at awareness among farmers, familiarising them with the beneficial impact of cultivating millets on their incomes as well as on their lands. As farmers strive for livelihood in the midst of climate change and water scarcity, the possibility of cultivating grains suited for arid ecologies can pave the way forward for a greater rate of acceptance and adoption in the agricultural community.
Awareness goes hand-in-hand with research and development. Encouraging studies to enable primary processing of millet, storage, and shelf life enhancement, developing equipment and technological resources, and standardized grading promise to simplify and improve the production process for farmers and contribute to the growth of the millet market.
Building a strong business model is also imperative, with emphasis on value addition and development of value-added products from millets. Contemporary eating habits, particularly in urban areas, are greatly influenced by food trends, the increasing popularity of restaurant