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Top 5 Millet-Specific Organizations in India

Several Indian organizations are working to promote millet intake in daily diet, be it the organizations responsible for the research work or companies making value-added millet products. Here in this article, we recognize some of the millet-specific organizations.

Binita Kumari
Top 5 Millet-Specific Organizations in India
Top 5 Millet-Specific Organizations in India

Millets are making a strong comeback, but from the perspective of the individual, it is important to recognize what one's body is comfortable with and no extreme changes should be made. There are many initiatives underway to bring millets back into the mainstream as their popularity slowly increases.

A thoughtful strategy to reintroduce this crop into the public consciousness will go a long way toward addressing some of the country's most pressing food problems. Following are the Top 5 millet-specific organizations:

Indian Institute of Millets Research

The All India Coordinated Research Project on Small Millets, formerly known as the All India Coordinated Small Millets Improvement Project, conducts research in 14 centers and several volunteer centers that cover the main small millet-growing regions of the nation, including the tribal and hilly regions. Twelve of these 14 centers were located in SAUs. These include Coimbatore of the TNAU in Tamil Nadu, Nandyal and Vizianagaram of the ANGRAU in Andhra Pradesh, Dindori and Rewa of the JNKVV in Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh, Ranchi of the BAU in Jharkhand, Berhampur of the OUAT in Odisha, Ranichauri of the UUH&F in Uttarakhand, Dholi of RAU in Bihar, etc.

The objectives of the organizations are:

Organize research pertinent to regional needs and coordinate and oversee research at several centers.

The development of improved varieties, the improvement of production and protection technologies, and the reduction of production costs.

To increase productivity by using the genetic potential already available

To promote the use of genetic resources in research programs in various states while conserving, evaluating, and documenting them.

To intensify research on grain processing and value addition to expand utility by identifying new uses.

DHAN Organisation

By addressing supply and demand-side issues, the Small Millet Foundation project aims to increase the production and consumption of tiny millets in India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. Its extensive agenda covered policy lobbying, cultivation, processing, value addition, and conservation. As a follow-up to the RESMISA project, the DHAN Foundation and McGill University carried out the "Scaling up Small Millet Post-harvest and Nutritious Food Products Project" from 2016 to 2018. This project aimed to create and implement strategies for scaling up small millet processing and value-addition technologies to lessen women's labor-intensive tasks and enhance India's nutritional security. As part of competitive proposals for Canadian International Food Security Research, both studies received funding from the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and Global Affairs Canada (formerly CIDA).

The objectives of the program are:

Increasing household consumption by 5 kg/month/family over 1 million households

Increasing output and productivity in Tamil Nadu, Eastern India, Central India, Karnataka and AP, and Uttarakhand while maintaining sustainability

Extending the tiny millet intervention programs to other millet-growing Asian and African nations

University of Agricultural Sciences’ Center of Excellence on Small Millets

The Centre of Excellence on Small Millets (CoE-SM) was founded at the University of Agricultural Sciences, Bengaluru (UASB) by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Government of India, New Delhi, with a total budget of Rs. 124 lakhs from 2012-17, initially under INSIMP (2012-14), and later under NFSM programs. Its mission is to address primary and secondary processing issues, provide entrepreneurship development and training, refine the technology, and address other pressing issues.

Under this project:

The (CoE-SM) has installed 18 primary and secondary processing equipment for the processing of small millets.

There have been 17 training programs for farmers, farm women, and entrepreneurs, with roughly 21% of the trainees being female.

Through its training programs about the cultivation, use, and value addition of small millets, (CoE-SM) has sensitized 450 farmers from almost 200 villages in 58 taluks and 21 districts.

The (CoE-SM) has had over 660 visits from people looking for information on small millets.

The (CoE-SM) has created more than 45 recipes and value-added goods, and 17 of them are about to be marketed by the university through its Technology Commercialization Cell.

Two small millet eateries and one other venture have received funding from the (CoE-SM).

Nearly 4 tonnes of grains from five small millets have been processed at the (CoE-SM) incubation center, generating cash. The processing facility is open to stakeholders.

Millet Network of India

As a result of DDS's persistent advocacy of millets over the past 30 years in the Andhra Pradesh region of Zaheerabad, the Millet Network of India [MINI] was formed. DDS believed that it was time to create a network of people who are already working with millets or thinking about them across India, unafraid of their historical neglect, after achieving a major milestone in community action for the revival of millet-based farming and food systems that put control over food, seeds, markets, and natural resources into the hands of the poor - especially the women who are from multiple marginalizations. As a result, DDS launched the Millet Network of India [MINI] in October 2007.

MINI is an alliance of over 120 members, including women, scientists, media professionals, civil society organizations, over 50 farmer organizations, and nutritionists. They represent more than 15 rain-fed Indian states. The millet is seen by the MINI as more than just a crop; it is an idea, and its capacity to help millet farmers become self-sufficient in their farming is what matters most.

SHODH

SHODH's quest started when they began working with communities (rural and slum) to identify the gap and potential solutions. The initiatives' main components were community involvement and sustainable solutions. Our goal is to make the community self-reliant and independent of any outside force. They believe that the community can overcome the issues on its own as they work with them as a catalyst.

A crop with low input costs for the farmer includes using native seeds, not requiring chemical fertilizer or pesticide, and being grown in the rain, which prevents groundwater exploitation and produces a high yield. Additionally, this should also give consumers access to all of their nutritional needs. Millets, also known as climate-smart crops, are the only solution to this. Climate Action is discussed in UN SDG-13, and so it became another signature project of SHODH.

Writer’s Note: Readers are invited to mention more millet-specific organizations in the comment section below.

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