HYDERABAD: With the development of 21 new millet-based products ranging from multi grain flour, biscuits and noodles to ready-to-eat snacks, Millet Processing and Incubation Centre (MPIC) at Professor Jayashankar Telangana Sate Agricultural University is striving to popularise millets-based foods among the people.
MPIC was set up with an initial investment of Rs 2.8 crore at PJTSAU in July 2013 to popularise millet-based foods. “Millets are very rich in nutrients and fibre content when compared to wheat and rice. They are also very healthy when compared to wheat and rice. But they are being neglected by people as they are not readily available like wheat and rice-based products in the market and are not as convenient as wheat products. Therefore, we have decided to develop technology for millet-based products and make them available to the public to popularise them,” said Professor TV Hymavathi, officer incharge of MPIC.
To reach out to the people, food and nutrition scientists have selected modern and widely used food items like biscuits, flour, noodles and pasta to be made with millets like jowar, bajra, ragi and foxtail among others.
Though the idea of making millet-based products available in convenient form is admirable, when it comes to implementation it is fraught with several bottlenecks. “Products like biscuits, noodles, vermicelli can be easily produced with wheat. Due to certain inherent qualities they are difficult to be made with millets. Even manufacturing equipment is also not readily available in the market. Therefore, we had to retrofit the equipment and develop our own product technology,” explained TV Hymavathi.
The efforts of the incubation centre have paid off and within a span of 18 months, about 21 products were developed. The centre also took up marketing of its products through innovative ways. Incubation centre provides its products to entrepreneurs interested in marketing them. It also offers product technology to entrepreneurs who want to take up production of millet-based products on their own.
Already its product technology is being used by about four entrepreneurs and about 15 entrepreneurs market its products. About 300 kg of products are produced daily at the centre.
All the products produced by the centre will be marketed under the brand name Millet Plus soon. PJTSAU has already registered ‘Millet Plus’ brand name for commercialising millet products. They are also planning to create a franchise for the products.