IIMR is working to break the stigma that Millets are a poor people's food by showcasing it as a superfood: Dr. Mrs. Tara Satyavathi, Director of ICAR-IIMR
The new thing in Millets Research is Rice Look Alike Millets announced Dr. B. Dayakar Rao, CEO of Nutrihub. Speaking to a group of visiting women entrepreneurs to ICAR-Indian Institute of Millets Research on the topic Soil to Soul to familiarise women entrepreneurs with the Millets Research, Dr Rao said, that changing Millets into Rice Shape is one of the initiatives we have embarked on to fight the mindset of people and convert non-millet eaters into eating millets. Many people who prefer rice only prefer to eat rice. For such people, we can offer millet as rice, as they look like rice. We will be giving millets in the rice shape so that acceptability of it is increased, he explained.
It is an initiative to earn more acceptability for the 3000-year-old group of cereal he said and added that while reconstituting millets into rice we can fortify them to address a particular nutritional demand for a particular set of consumers. By reconstituting millets into rice form, we are increasing shelf-life and digestion, he added.
Dr. Rao gave an overview of Millets and its value chain development to women entrepreneurs of the FICCI Ladies Organisation (FLO) which undertook a field visit to IIMR at Rajendranagar on Saturday afternoon to familiarise their members with commercialising Millets.
He said Millets are one of the oldest food grains, with evidence of their cultivation dating back to 3000 BC. India is the largest producer of millets in the world, with 19% of the global area and 20% of the global production and produces 11 out of 18 millets cultivated in the world. They are currently grown in 131 countries.
He said millets help fight Heart Disease, prevent colon cancer, help to prevent type-2 diabetes, aid in weight loss and are gluten-free food. This is good for pregnant and lactating mothers and prevents malnutrition in children. IIMR is in a mission mode to revive millet demand in India, he informed.
On the commercialising front, IIMR has Nutrihub TBISC which is the Department of Science & Technology (DST), Govt. of India supported Technology Business Incubator hosted by the Indian Institute of Millet Research, ICAR – IIMR, Hyderabad. Nutrihub is a unique and first-of-its-kind organisation to caters to start-up needs in the Nutri cereals sector of the country. It has built a brand around Millets. It incubated over 400 startups in the past 5 years and most of them raised a capital of around one to two crores. Currently, 100-plus startups are being incubated. It has developed 70 technologies, Dr. B. Dayakar Rao added
Speaking earlier Dr. Mrs. Tara Satyavathi, Director of ICAR-IIMR said,” We are only eating calories. We need to eat more nutritious food. With millets, we are moving from food security to nutrition security. IIMR is also working towards breaking the stigma that Millet is a poor people's food by showcasing it as a superfood, combating misinformation, and reviving lost recipes, thus making it an essential part of the mainstream food basket”.
Speaking further she informed that over 500 startups are working in the millet value chain while the IIMR has incubated 250 startups under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana. More than Rs 6.2 crores has been disbursed to over 666 startups while about 25 startups have been approved for further funding. She has also shared the important initiatives of the Government of India and other state governments.
Earlier welcoming the gathering Ritu Shah, Chairperson of FLO said Millet is a good source of protein, fibre, key vitamins, and minerals. This being an International Year of Millets, FLO would like to explore business opportunities for our members in this space, she said. That is why this tour was planned, she added.
Several women entrepreneurs who were keen to explore business prospects in Millets asked many questions and got clarifications. Towards the end, they also visited and inspected the facilities IIMR created for entrepreneurs.
Dr. B. Dayakar Rao, CEO of Nutrihub may be reached on his mobile: 9989710405