BANGALORE: Ragi (Fingermillet), the crop which once flourished in Karnataka, lost its resemblance over the years due to lack of support from the State government. However, of late, the crop has been reintroduced with many Self Help Groups (SHGs) showing interest in processing ragi into various marketable products.
Ratnamma, a regular farm woman from Doddaballapur taluk, grows ragi in her one acre of land and utilises the produce for processing value added products like pappad, vermicelli, mixture, and other home-made recipes.
“Gandhi Krishi Vignan Kendra (GKVK) has given us training in production of Ragi-based bakery products and this has acted as a great source of income. A member of the SHG can earn anywhere between Rs 10,000 to 15,000. We market the products on our own and supply it to different districts,” she added. The grain is nutritious with balanced protein, higher calcium and iron and dietary fibre. This provides with enough opportunities for developing and promoting nutritious utility products from Ragi.
Details of The Crop: Ragi is grown in rain-fed areas adjoining the border of Karnataka, in the south and south western region. It is predominantly grown including Mysore, Mandya and Bangalore Rural and Bidar districts.
Ragi is an important dry land crop valued for food grain and straw. One of the important features of Ragi is its resilience and ability to adjust to marginal agro-climatic conditions in terms of soil fertility, rainfall and other weather parameters.
“There are ample opportunities for small entrepreneurs among rural women through development and marketing innovative value added products that is being highly promoted in recent years. This can transform rural employment and retain the youth in the farming sector,” S M Savitha, subject matter specialist at GKVK, Bangalore, said.