Agri Business

Big boost coming for coarse cereals in this ‘Year of Millets’

Our Bureau Bengaluru | Updated on January 19, 2018 Published on January 19, 2018

Visitors going around stalls displaying various products at the International Trade Fair: Organic and Millet mela 2018, at Palace grounds, in Bengaluru on Friday   -  K MURALI KUMAR

Sadanand Gowda says Centre has accepted Karnataka Minister’s request to dedicate 2018 to millets

The Central government has approved 2018 as the ‘Year of Millets,’ said the Union Minister for Statistics and Programme Implementation DV Sadananda Gowda on Friday.

The move is expected to help promote millets such as ragi and foxtail millets that are nutrient-rich and can grow with less water.

“The Central government has approved 2018 as year of millets to encourage its production and boost this sunrise agri industry. We did it on Karnataka Agriculture Minister Krishne Byre Gowda’s request,” Gowda said at the inaugural of the International Trade Fair (ITF) on organics and millets.

He further said that the Centre will offer support under the Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana to States that are promoting organics and millets.

Dietary habits

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramiah stressed the need for raising awareness and promote millets in daily diets due to its nutritional value and ease of cultivation.

Karnataka Agriculture Minister Krishne Byre Gowda, who has been focussing on promoting millets in the traditionally drought-prone State, said the government hopes to bring about a change in dietary habits and promote a more sustainable future.

Boosting organic farming

Karnataka ranks first in the millets production and is the third largest producer of organic foods in the country.

The event is showcasing organic crops and millets through exclusive pavilions and stalls of partnering States such as Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Meghalaya, Uttarakhand, Haryana and Chhattisgarh.

Corporate players in millets

Companies such as MTR Foods, Mother India Agro Foods, Nature-Bio Foods, Big Basket and TAFE, besides a host of farmer producer organisations and food-start-ups have set up their stalls at ITF showcasing their products such as millet-based snacks and grains among others.

Speaking on behalf of food companies, Varun Berry, Managing Director, Britannia Industries Limited, said the company, which produces over 1.1 lakh tonnes of biscuits annually, has introduced millet-based biscuits.

“We expect to expand the health biscuit category,” Berry said adding that the food industry was supportive of the Karnataka's initiatives in promoting the millets.

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Published on January 19, 2018
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