Almost 50% areas under millet production have led to shift to production of other competitive crops due to trouble in processing, low shelflife of flour and low social status attached to millets. Millets which was a traditional food of the dry land region and recommended for farmers dealing with different harsh climatic circumstances. But due to lack of millet farming their consumption had decreased for the past few years. But now the production chain revived the production of millets due to its encouraging nutritive value, gluten free, low glycemic index, least allergic, alkaline forming grain and improved satiety ratios. This shift will be environmentally and nutritionally beneficial, for solving the problem of deep roots of Malnutrition.
WHY PROCESS MILLETS
The hulled grains are naturally hard and not ready for direct human consumption There has been much development in the milling of millets specifically dehusking of husked millet (Foxtail, Little, Kodo, Proso and Barnyard). Milling should be taken care that the removal of the bran and the germ limit the loss of nutrient content of the grain and removes the antinutritional factors and contaminants.
Traditional and bioprocess technology as germination or malting can be done. Malting increases the bioavailability of micronutrients and amylase. Choose machine milling over manual dehulling. Products involving heat treatment (popping, flaking, expanding grains, parboiling) have better shelf life, since heating deactivates lipase
Characteristics of millets,
Naked Grains (No Husk): Don’t Need Much Processing
- Sorghum, Pearl And Finger Millet
Husked grains: Need To De-husk
- Foxtail, Little, Kodo, Proso, Barnyard Etc.
Being a staple and consumed at household levels, processing must be considered at both traditional and industrial levels, involving small, medium and large-scale entrepreneurs. Dehulling is not favourable to millets due to their small grain sizes. In addition, dehulling causes nutrients loss, there was decrease in the macro nutrients (protein and fat) and micronutrients (iron, calcium, chromium, zinc and riboflavin) which occurs on dehulling. It is observed that,
|S. No||Parameters||Whole grain||Dehulled grain|
We all tend to agree with the high nutritional value, environmental and health benefits perspective, but why is it priced so high? – A valid concern!
Government has invested extensively in paddy cultivation & processing as a result the grains are priced low. In case of millets there is minimal investment from the government for its processing. And even though traditional processes of milling costs are low, it is not possible to make it available for a larger section of the population. Weak millet supply chain creates gaps which leads to buffering and increase in cost.
When we have to compare the pricing of millets vs rice grains in terms of its nutritional value and cooked parameter. Cooked millet of 300 grams will be enough to feel full comparatively to cooked rice which requires 400-500grams to reach satiety; this justifies the cost factor, also in terms of its nutrient content.
The commercialization of millets now led to the nutritional branding of different forms of millets thus, awareness needs to be created for consumption in various forms to achieve optimal health.