30 April, 2018
Recognising millets’ anti-diabetic properties and other nutritious characteristics, the Centre has notified it as “Nutri-Cereals” for production, consumption and trade. Calling this climate resilient crops (which can be cultivated in dry zone) a “powerhouse of nutrients”, the agriculture ministry has identified 10 of its varieties for promoting its consumption.
The list of “Nutri-Cereals” includes ‘Kuttu’ (Buckwheat) whose flour is commonly used during ‘navratras’ or during any religious fasting day in many parts of the country. Calling this climate resilient crops (which can be cultivated in dry zone) a “powerhouse of nutrients”, the agriculture ministry has identified 10 of its varieties for promoting its consumption.
The other millets in the category of “Nutri-Cereals” include Sorghum (Jowar), Pearl Millet (Bajra), Finger Millet (Ragi/Mandua), Minor Millets i.e. Foxtail Millet (Kangani/Kakun), Proso Millet (Cheena), Kodo Millet (Kodo), Barnyard Millet (Sawa/Sanwa/ Jhangora), Little Millet (Kutki) and Ameranthus (Chaulai).
“Millets hold great potential in contributing substantially to food and nutritional security of the country and thus they are not only a powerhouse of nutrients, but also are climate resilient crops and possess unique nutritional characteristics”, said the agriculture ministry’s notification, issued on April 10.
Citing recent research findings, it noted that the millets “contain anti-diabetic properties” and food based on it reduces “postprandial blood glucose level and glycosylated haemoglobin”.
Recognising their nutritious value, the ministry has also allowed inclusion of millets in the Public Distribution System (PDS) for improving nutritional support.
According the ministry, the millets are nutritionally superior to wheat and rice owing to “their higher levels of protein with more balanced amino acid profile, crude fiber & minerals such as Iron, Zinc, and Phosphorous”.
Adapted to harsh environment of the semi-arid tropics, the millets are considered backbone for dry land agriculture. Millets can withstand high temperatures and grow on poor soils with little or no external inputs.