Adding foxtail Millet to our daily diet
Saw this on twitter.
This millet booklet by Mera Terah Run has good info on millets
As someone who was born and raised in Kerala, I had never heard of millets until recently. In fact, I had unknowingly consumed them before, mistaking them for yet another type of rice or grain.
Looking back at the eating habits of many Keralan ancestors, I am convinced that rice or paddy was not a staple diet around 100 years ago. Many of my ancestors lived in extreme poverty and lacked a consistent source of energy. In my area, people depended on tapioca. However, years later, when rice was heavily distributed through PDS (public distribution system), it became a widely popular food. Additionally, because paddy or rice could provide a quick sugar spike and a small amount of energy for a good period of time, people began to depend on it. It filled their stomach, way easy than other grains.In addition, the mid-day meal schemes would have likely played a significant role in increasing the popularity of rice.
Another observation I’ve made is that many people simply eat to fill their stomachs, treating meals as a mechanical process. Unfortunately, only very few people seem to understand the importance of eating a varied diet for a healthy lifestyle.
While researching the nutritional value of millets, I came across the name Khadar Vali, who is widely recognized as the “Millet Man” of India. Vali has extensively studied the benefits of millets and developed protocols for consuming them in a certain way. He has been a major advocate for the millet revolution happening in India, promoting the use of millets as a healthy and sustainable alternative to other grains.
Here are his views :
Renowned and Independent Scientist Dr. Khadar Vali had done a deep research on food grains and categorized them as negative, neutral and positive based on the contents of the grains.
Grains causes diseases. These are basically paddy rice and wheat as the fiber content is below 2 percent.
Grains don’t cause the new diseases, however can’t help to cure health disorders and diseases. These are jawar, bajra, finger millet, proso millet, etc which carry fiber content from 3 to 6 percent.
Grains, which help to cure the health diseases and disorders. These are Fioxtail millets, Barnyard millets, Browntop millets, Little millets and Kodo millets; which has fiber content from 8 to 12 percent. He named these millets as Siri Dhanyaalu. Siri means wealth, which is indirectly health. As there is an ancient saying HEALTH IS WEALTH.
Source : Millets by Dr. Khadar Vali - 24 Farms
To read about him further, there is an article by The New Indian Express -
Unsung Heroes: Millet man of India Dr Khadar Vali is driving a silent revolution | Cities News,The Indian Express.
From an urban consumer lens : I think taste is the biggest deterrent. We as a family got onto a multi-millet diet over a decade ago for the health benefits. Taste didn’t matter much so we were persistent. After a while we got used to it and now, rice is a very small part of our diet. Probably 2%. I think awareness has always been there even among the smaller towns. I was speaking to my mom recently and she also mentioned that she has grown up on millets (in Mysore). But with the advent of rice at a much cheaper price with a better taste… millet started to take a back seat.
Now, from a rural consumer lens : The access and cost factor I think has been the bigger limitation. While we were in the cities and in the corporate, it didn’t bother us what the millets costed and we bought them from the fancy stores. Now, in the rural, we are buying them from the local market because we have to be conscious of the cost. There’s so much impurities… it’s takes an effort to clean them off the mud / rocks before cooking. It’s still more expensive than rice. So to sum it up, rice is cheaper, tastier and more convenient to cook. Plus, the Govt ensures the communities here have ample of rice available through the PDS so it’s a no brainer. Except that this switch in diet from multi-millet to rice is causing havoc in terms of health in these communities. This switch is now causing ailments, stunted growth, etc.
The Govt can help with crossing the cost barrier by subsiding but, the consumer will still need to cross the taste barrier
Revitalising Rained Agriculture Network (RRA) has
brief updates from the first-day (24 Feb, yesterday) of the two-day Millets to Millions convening in Delhi. @Gijivisha_WASSAN @Vikas.hosoor
Update from ‘The Peoples’ Convention on Millets for Millions’
The convention was a first step towards making the International Year of Millets (IYOM) as an inclusive agenda for people and ecosystems. Held in Delhi on 24th-25th February, 2023, the convention saw over 500+ farmers, CSO representatives and Government officials come together to deliberate upon a multi-sectoral approach to ensure that millet consumption benefitted not just consumers but rural communities.
Key Highlights of the Convention:
Acknowledging contribution of Champion Farmers and institutions towards revival of millets and preservation of local and traditional knowledge about millets
Celebrating culture of millets through a special song on millets (released at the convention) and several other songs on millets from different parts of the country
Honoring the Pioneers of the Millets agenda- Sri P V Satheesh , Director Deccan Development Society and Dr. Annadan Seetharam , ex-Project Coordinator (AICRP on Small Millets) UAS, Bengaluru
Five engaging roundtable discussions around millet food systems with participation from farmers, scientists, community members (FPOs WSHGs) and other experts.
Five themes for the Roundtable discussions:
- MILLETS IN PUBLIC DIETS THROUGH PDS AND ICDS TO MITIGATE MALNUTRITION
- MILLETS AND MARKETS
- MILLETS AND MACHINES
- SEED SYSTEMS FOR MILLETS
- MILLETS AND PRODUCTION SYSTEMS
Panel discussions STATE MILLET MISSIONS - Initiatives and Strategies by the States
Panel discussion by Philanthropic partners
An insightful plenary presided by Chief Guest, Prof. Ramesh Chand, Member, NITI Aayog, and Guests of honour – Shri Manoj Ahuja, Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, GOI; Dr. Arabinda Padhee, Principal Secretary, Department of Agriculture and Farmers’ Empowerment, Government of Odisha; Dr. Ashok Dalwai, CEO, National Rainfed Area Authority (NRAA); Dr T Nandakumar, IAS (Rtd), Former Food and Agriculture Secretary to Government of India and Public Policy Expert on Agriculture and Smt. Chahat Bajpai, Additional Collector, Dist. Kumuram Bheem Asifabad, Government of Telangana
The plenary discussed the people’s recommendations, based on field experience to frame a sustainable approach for a millet-based food system.
For more details on the Roundtables and key asks emerging from the groups, please refer to Press Release – The People's Convention on Millets for Millions
HUL to mainstream millets among children and parents.
While it’s great to see larger corporations adopting/ promoting millets, I wonder how these might affect last mile farmers and small rural enterprises.