Sorghum a Wonder Grain:
Sorghum is an ancient grain that comes under the major millet category. Major millet due to its size and the area of production. This grain is the nutrient-rich, gluten-free, and best alternative to wheat and rice in terms of everything. We called ”Sorghum a wonder grain” due to its versatility and making its space in every sector like Food, Feed, and Fuel. Sorghum is a smart food that is good for you, good for the planet, and good for the farmers(ICRISAT).
Nutritional Profile of Sorghum:
According to the report of the National Institute for Nutrition, Hyderabad in every 100 grams of Sorghum grains contains 67.7 g of Carbohydrates, 9.9 g of protein, 1.73 g of fats and provides the energy of 334-kilo calories. It has captured its position in terms of dietary fiber (10.2 g) and 133 mg Magnesium and 39.4 μg Folic acid. It also contains Calcium(27.6 mg), Phosphorous(274 mg), Zinc(1.9 mg), Thiamine (0.35 mg), Riboflavin (0.14 mg) and Niacin(2.1 mg) per 100 grams of grains.
Health benefits of Sorghum:
- Sorghum reduces hypertension. It contains lesser Sodium(7.3 mg/100g) and higher potassium(408mg/100g) as compared to other cereals and these properties help in the therapeutic use for hypertensive patients.
- Sorghum helps in Weight Loss. It contains policosanols that help in reducing cholesterol in the body and thus intake of policosanols favors weight loss.
- Sorghum is good for diabetic patients. Due to the low glycaemic index, it helps slow down glucose levels in the blood.
- Sorghum inhibits Cancer tumor growth. The scientist has found out that the presence of 3-Deoxyanthoxyanins in darker Sorghum have antiproliferative activity against human colon cancer cells (Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry – March 2019).
- Sorghum is found to be good for the patient suffering from Celiac disease as it is gluten-free.
Why Sorghum is good for the New Entrepreneurs:
Sorghum has opened up its potential in the field of Food, Brewing, Livestock, and Export Industries. The demand for Sorghum is increasing as nowadays people are becoming more health-conscious and preferring the forgotten ancient grain in their diet. As per the report announced by the Report Linker, the Millet market of North America is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4% to reach US$ 1192.24 million by 2027. This will create more opportunities for entrepreneurs.
Now, lets us see how Sorghum has created its space in the market and how it can be utilized on a commercial basis.
- FOOD INDUSTRY: Sorghum a wonder grain fits well in baking, popping, gluten-free mix, extrusion, and flakes. Indian Institute of Millets Research(ICAR-IIMR), Hyderabad a premier institute solely popularising Millets as healthy food under the brand name “Eatrite”. The Nutrihub incubation program is designed to help Nutri-Cereals Startups to grow in a streamlined fashion.
The demand for millets is increasing due to their health benefits. Sorghum flour is replacing wheat flour in many households in India. Mostly ”Roti” are made with sorghum flour. Sorghum puffs are ready-to-eat (RTE) snacks that are developed by using Puff Gun Machine. It serves as healthy evening snacks, especially for children.
Sorghum is also used for making cookies/biscuits. I have tasted the biscuits made from Sorghum at IIMR, Hyderabad. It was really soft, tasty, and delicious. It can surely compete with the products available in the market.
- CUTLERY INDUSTRY: The word “Cutler” is derived from the Middle English word Cuteler. The cutlery is generally made of metal, wood, plastic and now the trend of disposable. During the COVID-19 situation, there is a shift in the eating etiquette trends and people are preferring different types of cutlery. Increasing hygiene has resulted in the high use of disposable cutlery that is made of bamboo and wood.
According to Future Market Insights(FMI), disposable cutlery sales are estimated to rise CAGR by 4% from 2021 to 2031, in comparison to a CAGR of 3.4% from 2016 to 2020.
The trend of Cloud Kitchen is increasing at a faster rate in India and Online Food Delivery Service providers like Swiggy and Zomato creating more opportunities for disposable or single-use cutlery.
But there is an opportunity of making cutlery, which is edible and this can be made from Millets. No doubt it is disposable at a faster rate and also it can be consumed just after completing the meal. Among millets, Sorghum fits well in this cutlery industry.
BK Environmental Innovations claimed to be the first to introduce cutlery made of Sorghum which is edible. Narayan Peesapaty, MD makes cutlery under the brand name Bakeys. In this segment, he makes spoons, forks, knives, and chopsticks using Sorghum flour as the base material. This cutlery can be decomposed within 4-5 days and it is made without preservatives and has a shelf life of 3 years.
- BIO-FUEL INDUSTRY: The increase in petroleum prices and the contribution of Fossil Fuels to global warming are becoming a concern for all of us. Bio-fuel is the next generation fuel which will be economical and the most important is environmentally friendly.
Sweet Sorghum stalk has the potential to emerge as the major bioenergy crop. It is more efficient than maize and sugarcane in terms of productivity with low water and inputs. Sweet Sorghum made its place in the National Policy of Biofuels-2018 and this will increase the scope for 1st Generation Ethanol.
Sweet Sorghum fits well because it is a versatile crop propagated by seeds and farmers can take 2-3 crops per year. IIMR, ICRISAT, and many R & D organizations are actively involved in taking the Sweet Sorghum journey to the next level in biofuel production and creating a milestone.
The best part of Sweet Sorghum in Biofuel production is that the sugarcane factories can be utilized around the year.
- FEED INDUSTRY: Sorghum is a good source of raw materials that are utilized for poultry and animal feed. After crushing of Sweet Sorghum, the bagasse is used for animal feed. The bagasse is turned into feed blocks. It is highly palatable, cost-effective, and also improves the yield of cows’ milk. The Sorghum grain is mixed with the feed of the birds and the result is good as maize.
- ALCOHOL INDUSTRY: Sorghum grains have opened up opportunities for entrepreneurs. Sorghum is an ingredient that is used in the production of fermented beverages. With Sorghum, many types of alcohol can be made like beer and whiskey.
In China, a famous Chinese Liquor called “Baijiu” is produced using Sorghum and it is the world’s top-selling spirit covering 40% by volume of alcohol followed by whisky. This spirit has already entered the Indian market.
By this, we can understand the potential of Sorghum, and that’s why Sorghum is called the ”Wonder Grain”. Entrepreneurs thinking of entering into the millet market can include Sorghum as their ingredient for their innovative millet products.
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Author: Tapas Chandra Roy, A Certified Farm Advisor on Millets, ‘Promoting Millets from Farm to Plate’. In a mission to take the forgotten grains- Millets to Millions. To remain updated on my blogs on millets you can join my Telegram Channel – Millet Advisor.