Promoting consumption of small millets

Given the large scale prevalence of under nutrition (Anaemia, protein energy malnutrition) and over nutrition (obesity), and rising levels of non-communicable diseases (diabetes, cardio-vascular diseases) and other lifestyle related health problems (constipation and other stomach related disorders), declining consumption of nutritious small millet foods has significant implications for the health of the population. So it is important to promote the consumption of small millets among all section of society.

While availability and access of small millet ready- to-eat and ready- to-cook food products influence consumption, motivation to consume, awareness on health benefits skills for utilisation and willingness- to-pay also significantly influence consumption. The consumers of small millets can be divided in to three categories.

  1. Rural consumers in the production area.

  2. Rural and urban consumers in the non-production area familiar with small millets and their benefits.

  3. Rural and urban consumers in the non-production area who are not familiar with small millets.

Differentiated efforts are needed in an integrated way to these three consumer segments covering product development for making small millet foods appealing and convenient to different consumer segments, market development (access, availability), awareness and skill building. Furthermore, all efforts for promotion should consider the fact that consumption of small millets as meals, tiffin or in any form involving substantial quantity will make a difference on the nutrition than value added products where quantum of consumption is small and only the fraction of the product is constituted of small millets. Other factors should be kept in mind are: i) all promotion efforts are built on past functional knowledge and skills related to recipes and health benefits and ii) will reach the wider section of the society.

Resources developed as part of the project

  1. Film on cooking show covering 28 small millet recipes, DHAN Foundation.

  2. Nam Unavu Nam Marabu, DHAN Foundation.

  3. Small Millet Music Treat – a music album, DHAN Foundation.

  4. Puthayal (Treasure)-An Effort to Revive Lost Food Habits- ten episodes of radio programme, DHAN Foundation.

  5. Posters on small millets.

Resources from other sources

  1. Millet Recipes - A Healthy Choice, ICAR- Indian Institute of Millets Research, Rajendranagar, Hyderabad - 500 030, Telangana, India.