BANGALORE: With an agenda of reintroducing millets to the Indian consumer, Grameena Natural, the natural foods store, is organising a ‘Millets Mela’. They are partnered in this endeavour by Earth 360, an eco-venture ‘involved in bringing Millets back into mainstream diet and cropping patterns’. This three-day exhibition is scheduled to be held at the Dr Marigowda Memorial Auditorium from April 13 onwards.
Dinesh Kumar, CEO of Earth 360, said, “India is the world’s largest producer of millets but it is slowly disappearing from both our fields and our plates. This initiative is to spread awareness about the benefits of millet both in cultivation and in consumption.” The event targets both the consumers and the agricultural practitioners. There are interactive sessions scheduled with Nutritionists, Processing technologists and cultivation experts. A food court will offer millet based delicacies. Around 20 varieties of millets can be purchased from outlets apart from other organic food like pulses, jaggery and spices.
Millets were once an integral part of the traditional Indian cuisine. Eight species were commonly cultivated including ragi, Bajra and Jawar. Post-independence, schemes like the Green Revolution were initiated to improve food security. This primarily concentrated on paddy and wheat and was one of the factors that led to a decrease in production of millets. The changing lifestyle saw a change in the dietary habits of the common man, leading to the exclusion of millets.
This change coincided with an increasing number of lifestyle related disorders like obesity and diabetes. Climatic adaptability makes for easy cultivation.
Millets are rich in protein, non-glutinous and easy to digest. They can also be used for alternative applications such as livestock fodder and alcohol production. They are getting a new lease of life through the introduction of health drinks and biscuits but there is a long way to go.