Sangam Dukanams selling organic millets are creating their own niche in Telangana

Recently, several Sangam Dukanams were opened in Gangwar, Raikode, Shaikapur, and Dattagiri Colony in Zaheerabad, and organisers plan to open 10 more stores in the coming days.
Deccan Development Society members pose after the inauguration of Sangam Dukanam at Pastapur, Zaheerabad | Sri Loganathan Velmurugan
Deccan Development Society members pose after the inauguration of Sangam Dukanam at Pastapur, Zaheerabad | Sri Loganathan Velmurugan

HYDERABAD: In order to bring organic millets closer to consumers, the Deccan Development Society (DDS) has established Sangam Dukanams in rural areas across the State to offer organically cultivated millets by tribal and marginalised women farmers.

A wide variety of millets will be available in these stores, including Raagulu (finger millet), Pacha Jonnalu (green sorghum), Arikelu (kodo millet), Udalu (barnyard millet), Yavva Ravva (barley), as well as natural jaggery and safflower oil, among other products. These stores aim to create a favourable market for millet farmers and make natural products easily accessible to consumers.

Recently, several Sangam Dukanams were opened in Gangwar, Raikode, Shaikapur, and Dattagiri Colony in Zaheerabad, and organisers plan to open 10 more stores in the coming days.

Kamalamma, a farmer from Regintala, says: “As members of DDS, we have decided to cultivate various food crops, including Sajjalu (pearl millet), Korralu (foxtail millet) and Samalu (little millet), among others. Despite producing high-quality yields, we struggled to find the right prices for our products in the market, and there was a risk of our organic millets being mixed with those containing pesticides.” To address these challenges, they decided to establish our own market for our products, she says. 

Kamalamma says that they held numerous meetings with the members and decided to contribute Rs 200 each to form a market group for transportation and other necessities. We also elected a president to handle transactions and other important tasks, she added.

While elders in the community are well aware of the health benefits of consuming millets, there is a lack of awareness among the younger generation. To educate children about its nutritional benefits, members prepare recipe texts for millet-based rotis, upma, and khichdi. 

Kamalamma says that the demand for millet has increased significantly in the recent past due to the growing discussions about its health benefits. For instance, the price of Korralu, which used to be around Rs 30-40 per kg a few years ago, has now risen to Rs 100 per kg. 

Chandi Bhai from Arjun Nayak Tanda, a farmer, shares his experience: “We have been cultivating millets for generations but gradually abandoned the practice. However, in the last five years, we have resumed it. On my two-acre land, we grow around 30-40 varieties of millets. We reserve a portion for our household needs and utilise the remaining for livestock.” He adds that he gets 10% more for the produce at DDS compared to the regular market.

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