Millets, which were once the staple diet, should be produced and consumed more, said experts at a seminar on Federation of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry here on Wednesday.
The seminar encouraged entrepreneurs in food processing industry and promoted food safety, quality, packaging and certification. “The Green revolution which resulted in food security reduced production and consumption of millets. Earlier millets were produced in plenty. Between rice, wheat and millets, there should be a balance of production,” said Dr. Vilas A. Tonapi, director general, Indian Institute of Millets Research-Hyderabad.
Out of 47,000 grains available for consumption in India, people eat only two, rice and wheat, he pointed out. Further, processed rice provides only starch and nutrient deficiency in staple diet causes malnutrition. Mr. Tonapi asked governments in the Centre and State to give incentives for the production of millets so that farmers are encouraged to cultivate these. “Millets prevent cardiovascular diseases, colon cancer hypertension and acidity. The food that we currently eat cause such medical complications,” Mr. Tonapi added.
In north India, malnutrition is higher compared to the south. In such places millets including jowar, bazra and ragi should be consumed as they are storehouses of nutrients, experts opined. “Akhil Kumar Gawar, director of Telangana Food Processing Society pointed out that the State is still dependent on millets. “Out of 3,000 food processing industries in Telangana just 2,200 are rice mills” he said.