Karnataka says #LetsMillet, roots for Indian superfood, the humble millet
When the state is drought-hit and farmers are in distress what can the government do? Connect the consumer directly with the farmers making them more confident of growing foods that consume practically 70 percent less water than grains like rice. And this is exactly what the agriculture ministry in Karnataka did.
The Karnataka government has organised a three-day Organics and Millets National Trade Fair and exhibition, the first of its kind attempt to root for Indian superfoods and healthy food choices. Not just grains that Indian consumers have long forgotten, the fair is a fun mix of art, cookery competitions, exhibition, trade and of course lip-smacking organic and millet-based foods.
Superfood for a super lifestyle
Millets are small seeded cereals and grains that are indigenous to India and African countries. They are considered to have been cultivated in India from pre-historic times. Their importance as food can be realised from the fact that millets are being cultivated in an area of about 30 million acres in India. This event brought farmers, traders, consumers, exporters, restaurants under one roof essentially creating a bridge.
A weekend with the grains
The event was inaugurated by Karnataka's agriculture minister Krishnabyre Gowda on Friday. The two-day event will see a range of activities apart from display and sale of organic produce as well as millets and millet-based foods. It is a national conference and exposition on vista of opportunities in agriculture and horticulture, processing and marketing
The event is aimed at improving soil health that has been damaged over years of chemical abuse. Lifestyle shifts that Indians have seen in the last few decades and its repercussions on health are alarming. The event aims to focus thrust on organic farming and encourage a renewed interest in the consumption of Millets. Afterall, Millets are superfoods you know.
A treat for the eyes and tastebuds
One visit to the place and you will see that it is not just about coarse grains. The event is much more. The coulourful millets are of course the primary attraction but the stalls dishing out meals prepared from millets and organic chemical-free produces are a treat, quite literally. What's more? The event also includes a workshop for farmers to help them chose healthy farming methods.
How many millets do you know?
You are sure to be blown away by the number of millets that the organisers have brought together in this fair. From the better known Ragi and maize to lesser known and consumed pearl millet, foxtail millet, Proso millet etc were all there. Some stalls even gave away recipe books just in case you have no clue what to prepare with the millets. Not just grains, some stalls also displayed end products, fresh and edible while others exhibited the various stages of millet farming. A neakpeak into the everyday life of an Indian farmer.
Farmer's food: Millet
Millets require 70% less water than rice. They require no pesticides and minimal chemical fertilisers making them mostly organic and environment-friendly. They are low-cost crops and can be grown well even in marginal lands, with low rainfall.
They are nutritional powerhouses high in proteins, dietary fibre, B complex vitamins, essential amino acids, folic acid & Vitamin E. They are particularly high in minerals such as, Iron, Magnesium, Copper, Phosphorous, Zinc, Calcium and Potassium. Their nutritional and health benefits have created a demand surge for a variety of millets.
What's in a millet?
A whole range of healthy benefits actually. Millets have high dietary fibre and provide hunger satisfaction and help reduce obesity. They reduce the risk of Diabetes & Cardio Vascular Diseases. It is beneficial in treating and prevention of gallstones and stomach ulcers. Nutritionally dense and reduce anaemia, liver disorder and asthma. Millets' hypo allergic properties help prevent allergic reactions. Relieves constipation. Lowers blood glucose response and reduce the risk of Type II Diabetes.
Millets are rich in antioxidants and hence reduce oxidative stress. They also reduce the risk of cancer and reduce the occurrence of hypertension.