Introduction to Millets

What Are Millets ?

Millets are a group of highly variable small-seeded grasses, widely grown around the world as cereal crops or grains for fodder and human food. The crop is favored due to its productivity and short growing season under dry, high-temperature conditions.

Millet is a delicious grain that can accompany many types of food. As with most grains, millet is available in markets throughout the year.

Millet is tiny in size and round in shape and can be white, gray, yellow or red. The most widely available form of millet found in stores is the hulled variety, although traditional couscous made from cracked millet can also be found

Why eat millets?

Millets are highly nutritious, non-glutinous and not acid forming foods. Hence they are soothing and easy to digest. They are considered to be the least allergenic and most digestible grains available. Compared to rice, especially polished rice, millets release lesser percentage of glucose and over a longer period of time. This lowers the risk of diabetes.

Millets are particularly high in minerals like iron, magnesium, phosphorous and potassium. Finger millet (Ragi) is the richest in calcium content, about 10 times that of rice or wheat.

How Millets are grown

Unlike rice and wheat that require many inputs in terms of soil fertility and water, millets grow well in dry regions as rainfed crops. By eating millets, we will be encouraging farmers in dry-land areas to grow crops that are best suited for those regions. This is a step towards sustainable cropping practices where by introducing diversity in our diets, we respect the biodiversity in nature rather than forcefully changing cropping patterns to grow wheat and rice everywhere.

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