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From Millet Microgreens to Tangy Treats: An Ode to the International Year of Millet

In 2023, the International Year of Millet celebrated the nutritional prowess of this ancient grain, leading to a surge in innovative millet-based products that are transforming the way we consume nutrition.

Ravisha Poddar
millets
Representational Image (Courtesy: Freepik)

The year 2023 was a celebration of millets, marking a pivotal time for the promotion of this ancient grain. While traditionally acclaimed for its nutritional richness, the challenge remained in appealing to modern tastes and consumption habits. Initiatives spurred by the Food and Agriculture Organization and the United Nations sought to bridge this gap, encouraging a wave of innovative products that showcased millet's adaptability and nutritional benefits.

Throughout the year, the spotlight shone on millet's nutritional potency. Rich in protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, millets emerged as a promising source of essential nutrients. Recognizing the need to modernize its consumption, many farmer-producer organizations (FPOs) ventured into uncharted territories, birthing a range of contemporary millet-based offerings.

Mr. Golla Sunil Kumar, CEO, Lambasingi Tribal Products Farmers Producer Company Limited
Mr. Golla Sunil Kumar, CEO, Lambasingi Tribal Products Farmers Producer Company Limited


Among the standout contributors to this millet revolution was the Lambasingi Tribal Products Farmers Producer Company from Andhra Pradesh led by Mr Golla Sunil Kumar. Committed to empowering small and marginal tribal farmers, this FPO pioneered the production of diverse organic farm products, including an array of millet variations, fruits, spices, and medicinal plants.

Their creation 'Millet Healthy Bites,' a snack comprising ragi, bajra, jowar, wheat, and spices, caught the eye and taste buds of many. Initially a handmade endeavor, it evolved into a professional and perfected delight with the assistance of the Indian Institute of Millets Research (IIMR). This snack, available in enticing flavors like Tangy Tomato and Chilli Cheese, has gained traction nationally and internationally, already making waves in domestic markets.

A customer buying Tangy Tomato 'Millet Healthy Bites' at NABARD Agri Expo 2023
A customer buying Tangy Tomato 'Millet Healthy Bites' at NABARD Agri Expo 2023

Driven by the aspiration to provide healthy alternatives at competitive prices, the FPO aims to expand its reach through e-commerce platforms, foreseeing a bright future for its product in mainstream markets.

Another front runner of this millet renaissance was the National Seeds Corporation, unveiling a surprising offering - millet microgreens. These young vegetable greens, standing at 1–3 inches tall, not only boast intense flavors but also pack a concentrated nutrient punch. Variants like barley, pearl millet, corn, and oats offer a versatile addition to culinary delights, elevating the nutritional quotient of dishes like burgers, sandwiches, and pasta.

Dr. Moushumi Sarkar Kundu, Manager (Production), National Seeds Corporation
Dr. Moushumi Sarkar Kundu, Manager (Production), National Seeds Corporation

Dr. Moushumi Sarkar Kundu, Manager (Production), National Seeds Corporation highlighted the simplicity of growing millet microgreens, even in takeaway food trays. These greens, bursting with nutritional goodness, provide a healthy twist to everyday meals, catering to a growing demand for healthier dining choices.

The emergence of millet-based products signifies a paradigm shift in our approach to nutrition and sustainability. From the humble millet grain sprouts a vast array of possibilities, challenging the norms of modern dietary choices and offering a gateway to healthier living.

The International Year of Millet catalyzed change, heralding an era where ancient grains take center stage in our quest for a more nutritious and sustainable future. As these innovations continue to captivate taste buds and minds alike, the legacy of millets in shaping a healthier world remains resolute.

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