Why Uttarakhand Dominates the Millet Industry?

Why Uttarakhand Dominates the Millet Industry?

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Millets are small-seed grains that belong to the grass family and are grown and enjoyed all over the world. They are gluten-free and rich in fiber, protein, minerals, and antioxidants. Millets provide many health benefits, helping with diabetes, obesity, cholesterol, blood pressure, and digestion. Today, millets are gaining global attention. After The United Nations declaration, 2023 was celebrated as the Year of Millets. Traditional cultivation of millets has been going on in Uttarakhand for centuries. Research has shown that Uttarakhand's millets are of superfood quality. Let’s know more about them.

History of Millet

Millets are ancient grains mentioned in the Vedas and have been grown in Asia for about 4,000 years. They were popular at that time. However, the Green Revolution led to a drastic decline in millet production and popularity. Despite this setback, lifestyle diseases made people start paying more attention to their diets and began including whole grains like millet again.

Millet in Uttarakhand 

In Uttarakhand, finger millet is enjoyed as madua ki roti and barnyard millet is used in dishes like jhangore ki kheer and chencha. These are classic Kumaoni and Garhwali foods. Finger millet (ragi) and barnyard millet (jhangora) are the main traditional crops of Uttarakhand, rich in antioxidants and phytates.

The pulses are also considered superfoods. For example, Kale Bhatt (Bhatt ki dal), the main pulse, is high in protein, fat, sodium, potassium, iron, and oxalates.

Additionally, mountain rajma is rich in carbohydrates, tannins, phenolics, and flavonoids. The red rice grown here can help fight malnutrition. All these crops are significant to the hilly regions of Uttarakhand.

There are more traditional crops including Kangni, Shama, Kutki, Kodo, Koni, and Cheena. The Government of India has classified these as nutritious grains. Uttarakhand is the leading state in millet production. These crops have been grown in the hills since ancient times.

Nutritional Value 

Millets help fight malnutrition and control cholesterol. The two main traditional crops, Ragi and Barnyard, are rich in antioxidants and phytates. Nutrients found in Millets: - 

Ragi contains 1.3% protein, 1.3% fat, and 328 calories.

Barnyard contains 6.2% protein, 5.8% fat, and 309 calories per 100 grams.

Amaranth (Ramdana) contains 15.6% protein, 6.3% fat, and 410 calories per 100 grams.

Climate and Soil Effects 

The Himalayan weather is not too hot or too cold. The soil is fertile and has enough moisture, which helps plants grow well. Most farmers grow crops for their families to eat, and there's not much leftover to sell. During the summer monsoon season, farmers plant all sorts of healthy grains like finger millet, barnyard millet, and foxtail millet. 

In some areas, they even mix different crops together in the same field, like millet, beans, and sesame seeds. One problem is that there's no easy way for farmers to share old, traditional seeds. This makes it harder, especially for small farmers, to keep growing these special crops.

Millet Significance 

Many farms in Uttarakhand are being taken over by forests because people have stopped farming. This is a big problem for the mountain communities who rely on agriculture for their livelihood. On top of that, wild animals are destroying crops.

Millets can be part of the solution. These healthy grains are good for farmers' wallets because they cost less to grow. The government can also help by starting programs that encourage farmers to plant more millet. By bringing back these traditional crops and selling them online, we can help these communities.

Join the millet movement by including it in your diet!

Click to buy Nirvana Organic Ragi Atta (Finger Millet Flour) packed with essential fibers, carbohydrates, and potassium.