Solar Millet Processing Unit:
The first-ever solar millet processing unit was inaugurated on 10th, August 2021 in the village Gobindapur of Manikapur GP, Mohana Block of Gajapati district in Odisha. This unit is established with support from Odisha Millet Mission, Watershed Support Services and Activities Network(WASSAN), and SELCO Foundation, to be managed by Taptapani Farmer Producer Company(FPC) and facilitated by SACAL.
This unit was inaugurated in presence of the Sub-Collector, Block Development Officer, Tahasildar, and other government officials.
This center is the first new project and it will reduce drudgery in women and the most important aspect, it will reduce the carbon footprint. As we know processing millets is a difficult task and processing in a traditional way involves drudgery and consumes a lot of time. It takes about one hour to process one kilo of millet grains.
Odisha Millet Mission’s main objective is to promote household millet consumption, establishing decentralized millet processing units, promoting the Farmer Producer Organisation for marketing, and the inclusion of millets in the ICDS Programme and Mid-day meals. This solar millet processing unit will cater to all the purposes of the millet mission.
With the help of Mission Shakti, Self Help Groups(SHG) can become self-reliant and independent by opening Millet Shakti Shop. They can get the processed millet grains like Foxtail Millet, Little Millet, Sorghum, and Finger Millet(Ragi), and millets grain flours.
In the inaugural session, the Sub-Collector announced to make this unit a profitable enterprise by providing a better road and godowns. The Block Development Officer encouraged the branding of millet products and others praised Odisha Millet Mission for working for health and nutritional security.
Machines in the Solar Millet Processing Unit:
- A set of Millet Grader: The grader will help in separating the inert materials like big stones, sticks, sand, grass, etc from the millet grains.
- Destonner with Aspirator: It will help in separating the same size stones, mud balls from the grains.
- Multigrain Huller: For removing the husk and separate the millets from the husk. It has a capacity of 100-150kg/hour.
- Polisher: It will help in removing the thin glome layer or the upper thin layer from millet grains and produce polished grains and it has the capacity of 50-100 kg/hour.
- Pulverizer: It will be used for grinding the millet grains into powder form. The capacity of the pulverizer is 10 to 15 kg/hour.
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The solar millet processing unit can run for 4 hours with full capacity with a full day charge. One machine can be operated at once with battery backup.
Grading, destoning, polishing, and pulverizing of Ragi, Foxtail Millet, Little millet, Sorghum, etc can be done in this unit. FPO can get processing charges for processing and can also use for self-business purposes. FPO is currently planning for processing that will support local consumption and marketing of millet in local and nearby urban markets.
Nowadays, there is a demand for healthy food, and millets can provide better nutrition as compared to other grains. This solar millet processing unit will not only help for the processing of millets but will also encourage farmers to grow millets in their area.
In the coming days, more millet processing units are to be installed in Odisha under Odisha Millet Mission and this initiative will definitely help millet growing farmers and also empower women in Odisha.
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.