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Millet Regains Popularity around the world as a Nutritious and Sustainable Food Option

Millet, a staple grain in many countries, is gaining popularity globally as a nutritious and sustainable alternative to traditional cereal crops.

Millet is a group of small-seeded grasses that are grown for their edible seeds. It is rich in nutrients, including protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, making it a highly nutritious option for people looking to incorporate healthier food options in their diets. Millet is also gluten-free, making it a suitable alternative for people with gluten intolerance.

Picture: Kumaon Jagran

Another factor contributing to the growing popularity of millet is its sustainability. Unlike other cereal crops, millet is highly resistant to drought and can grow in harsh environments, making it a suitable crop for regions facing water scarcity and unpredictable weather patterns. This means that it requires less water, fertilizer, and pesticides compared to other crops, reducing the environmental impact of growing and producing millet.

The rise in interest in plant-based diets is also driving the popularity of millet. As more people seek out vegan and vegetarian options, millet is becoming a popular alternative to meat-based protein sources. Millet can be prepared in a variety of ways, from pilafs and porridges to baked goods, and can be a tasty and versatile ingredient in a range of dishes.

In addition to its health and environmental benefits, millet is also accessible and affordable, making it a suitable option for people looking to add nutritious food to their diets without breaking the bank.

Picture: Kumaon Jagran

In India, millet is grown in various regions, including Rajasthan, Maharashtra, and Karnataka, and is used to prepare a range of dishes, from porridge and roti to pakoras and laddoos. It is particularly popular in rural and tribal areas, where it is often the main staple food.However, despite its growing popularity, the availability of millet products in India can be limited, especially in urban areas. This is partly due to the lack of investment in millet processing and storage facilities, which makes it challenging to transport and preserve the grain. As a result, many people are unable to access millet products, even though they may be interested in incorporating them into their diets.

To address this issue, the Indian government and various organizations are working to promote the production and availability of millet products. For example, the government has launched several initiatives to support millet farmers and encourage the growth of the millet industry. Additionally, private companies are investing in millet processing and storage facilities to make the grain more accessible to consumers. In 2018, India pitched a proposal to the UN to recognise an International Year of Millets. Six years later, 2023 is being celebrated as the UN-designated International Year of Millets.

On Sunday, in his Mann Ki Baat address, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said every G20 summit event in India would feature millet dishes — Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla has sought a special millet menu for Members of Parliament, who will now get to choose from the new menu, besides the old one.

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