Make millets a staple, visit the roti-chapati markets of the north: IIMR director

Indian Institute of Millet Research (ICAR-IIMR) Tara Satyavathi said on Friday that the millet ecosystem needs to shift gears to enter new markets like North India, where people mainly eat roti and chapati, and diversify its product offering. He called for developing technologies to incorporate millets into roti and chapati to tap into the huge  North Indian market. “We should focus on how  it happens”,  he said in a speech at the millet conclave. 

Calling for efforts to make milion a staple food, he said people  generally do not eat chikki (or snacks) much. “To promote millets, it has to be a staple”. He called for efforts to encourage farmers in the heart of the millet ecosystem to grow millet. “If we are to continue the momentum of millet, we must focus on the farmers who grow it”.

  “We don’t recommend people  completely replace cereals with millet. But we can aim for a third of about 270 grams of carbohydrates”, The conclave organized by Businessline and NABARD discussed the opportunities and challenges of millets.  Include all millets 

 He realized that millet is a completely unique crop and felt the need to include all  millets rather than focusing on a few (small) millets. Small millet is grown on approximately 4 million hectares, while sorghum and bajra are grown on 7.5 million hectares. “Product development systems should only focus on a smaller area, but consider bringing  more millet into product development. 

 Unlike other major breakthroughs like the Green Revolution, which were “brought into India from outside, millets are a crop in their own right. “We produced knowledge and developed our brands”. Although the area under millet cultivation has decreased in recent decades, the country is able to increase production thanks to scientific advances.

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