Mainstreaming Millet Consumption

Various aspects of millet discussed at two-day conference in Mumbai

Millets are more nutritious and healthy as they take more time to break down the glucose and fructose to be absorbed by blood. While rice takes only 45 minutes to be absorbed by blood, Ragi takes two hours and millets take six hours. Slow carbs release Glucose slowly and steadily.

“Any food that takes a longer time to break down the glucose and fructose to be absorbed by blood is healthy”, said Dr Khadar Vali, popularly known as India’s Millet Man. He was delivering a keynote address at two-day conference on ‘Mission millet: Mainstreaming millets for smart, sustainable tomorrow’ conference organised by SVT College of Home Science at SNDT university in Mumbai.

Various aspects of millet were discussed at the conference. Inaugurating the conference, Dr Dayakar Rao, Principal Scientist, Indian Institute of Millet Research (IIMR), said, “India is the largest exporter of millets which are considered smart foods. They are important from the point of nutrition. Farmers should grow millets for commercial purposes”. He added that millets should be taken to the next level and the IIMR is keen to develop relations with stakeholders.

Lt Col Updesh Kumar, Joint Advisor, NITI Aayog remarked, “The next generations will live long but what will be the quality of life? With bad foods the health also will be bad and hence quality of life will not be good”. Let us all grow together in health matters, he said, asking students and universities to contribute in policy making. “We are a consumption-based economy, so we have to increase consumption of millets”, he added.

In her welcome address, Dr Jagmeet Madan, Principal, SVT College of Home Science, said a MoU has been signed by which SVT college will be Nutrihub extension centre in Mumbai. Dr Kowsalya, Registrar, Avinashilingam Institute for Home Science, described the reasons for millets not being a popular food. She said, “In a 7-city survey on millets 22 per cent respondents said they do not consume millets because they do not like the taste. People do not like its flavour in traditional methods of cooking and it is tagged as poor man’s food. Poor branding is also one of the reasons”.

Dr Renuka Mainde, corporate nutritionist, said 250 women farmers’ cooperatives have been formed in Vidarbha region. They will be coming out with FMCG products of millets. Makarand Parturkar, DGM, Zydus Wellness, appealed to the people to have at least a one-day millet diet in a week. Instead of spending huge amounts on fancy diet foods, value what we have traditionally that is good for health like millets.

Ankita Marwaha, Associate Director (Nutrition), PepsiCo, said the message should be in a style relevant to the people to make an impact and create awareness about the millets. It should be easy, simple and understandable. Agatha Betsy, Nutrition Manager, Marico, said that the taste factor of millets will have to be addressed.

Avartan Bokil, Founder, Foodstrong, Sunil Kasat, Director, Ramakrishna Industries, Mamata Arora, Senior Manager – Regulatory, PepsiCo, talked about innovations and entrepreneurship in millets. Pawan Agarwal, founder and CEO, Food Future Foundation, delivered a lead talk on millets and sustainability. Millets for wellness and sports performance were also discussed.

Dr Milind Kokje


Image caption- Dr Khadar Vali (in green), popularly known as India’s Millet Man, along with dignitaries and students at a two-day conference on ‘Mission millet: Mainstreaming millets for smart, sustainable tomorrow’

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