The Potential of Millets and Healthy Start Ups in 2020

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 The demand for healthy food is increasing rapidly due to current lifestyle diseases. The best option for healthy and nutritious food that comes to my mind is the Millets. When we look deep into its nutritional content, it makes us astonished. They are gluten-free and have a low glycemic index so it is good for diabetic patients. They are called the Nutri-cereals and are superior to other grains in terms of dietary fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and micro-nutrients.

Products on the shelf:

Recently, I visited a Reliance Store and could find millet products on the shelf. Retailers are dedicating separate aisle and shelf to display products which were not seen 10 years back. Putting products on display is bringing more revenue and impacting their sales. People who know millets will be surely picked up and those who are new will pick up out of curiosity. Many companies have launched variants of products into their grain category.

Organic Brand in India:

24mantra organic food brand is available across India and abroad and has introduced millets as the ancient grains. In their basket, they have Sorghum, Bajra, Ragi, Proso, Barnyard, Kodo Millet, Little, and Foxtail. Their presence is at the retail stores of their own, as well as in the supermarkets and also we can buy it online.

Institutions popularising Millets:

Eatrite is a brand built and marketed by IIMR, Hyderabad solely popularising millets as healthy food.
Nutrihub one of the largest technology incubator in India. The Nutrihub incubation program is designed to help Nutri-cereals startups grow in a streamlined fashion by providing them the required technology and business support system. The startups of Nutrihub are as under:

Millet Startups in Nutrihub
Startups in Nutrihub, Hyderabad

The above entrepreneurs have developed many products in their basket and made them available in retail stores and as well as their presence online globally.

Support System by Nutrihub, Hyderabad:

  • Technology Consultancy – Registrations, Licenses, Technology Transfer, and Commercialization.
  • Business Facilitation – Assistance with business plan development. Market strategies and connect with backward and forward market linkages.
  • Mentoring and Networking – Knowledge and skill enhancement through technical and business training, networking, and access to technical and business mentors and experts.
  • Infrastructure Facilities – Facilitation of product development and access to the Research and Development laboratory, Production Facilities.
  • Access to Funding – Assistance in preparation of the business plan, proposals. Linkage with Banks, Financial Institutions, and Investors.
  • Awareness – Promotion of incubated Startups and Nutritional merits of Millets for wide acceptance among the consumers.

Last year, when I visited ICRISAT, Hyderabad could see many products worldwide from India, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, the USA, and Africa. Millets products are entering the market after proper survey and customer feedback. Products are delicious, nutritious, and good for health.

ICRISAT established its Agri-Business Incubator to improve the livelihood of small farmers and rural communities through agribusiness enterprises/startups.

“Millets have multiple benefits as they contribute to food and nutrition security for millions of people in the semi-arid tropics of Asia and Africa, generate market opportunities for farmers, and are a critical solution to climate change.” Kofi A. Annan, Chair of the Kofi Annan Foundation.

The Honourable Prime Minister of India highlighted the roles of millets in ensuring food security and nutrition, underlining their resilience to adverse climatic conditions, and their potential to ensure increased incomes or the resource-poor farmers.

So, there is a lot of potential in the food processing industry in India and also globally. It is the right time to think and step into millet startups in India.

Author: Tapas Chandra Roy, Assistant Agriculture Officer, Department of Agriculture and Farmers’ Empowerment, (Govt. of Odisha)

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