Saturday, January 13, 2018

Bengaluru: Millets in mid-day meals, Akshaya Patra starts pilot

Agriculture Minister Krishna Byre Gowda and Akshaya Patra Foundation Vice Chairman, Chanchalapathi Dasa at the launch of millets in the mid-day meal scheme by the Foundation in Bengaluru on Friday
Bengaluru: The Akshaya Patra Foundation on Friday launched a pilot programme in partnership with the state government to introduce millets in the mid-day meal scheme. The event was held at a government higher primary school in Kumaraswamy Layout.

The Agriculture and Education Departments too will be partners in the programme. The project will cover 1,622 children across 10 government and government-aided schools in Bengaluru and later will extend to all the 4,86,172 beneficiaries served by Akshaya Patra in the state.

Agriculture Minister Krishna Byregowda said, “The country has taken strides in achieving food security. The mid-day meals programme in Karnataka has ensured food security for children. To further this agenda, we need to focus on nutrition security, particularly among children. Introducing millets in mid-day meals is a great beginning. Millets are not only rich in nutrients, but also good for our health. At the same time, smallholding farmers and environment too will benefit.”

Ms. Joanna Kane-Potaka, the Leader, Smart Food Initiative for International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), said, “Making millets popular to the masses again will be a major breakthrough in overcoming malnutrition and rural poverty while being more sustainable for the environment. It can also drive new markets and business opportunities. It is also predicted to be the next superfood globally.”

Other organizations which will contribute to this initiative are the Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI), M.S. Swaminathan Foundation (MSSRF), National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), Indian Institute of Millets Research (IIMR), and other government and industry groups.

Millets mela from Jan. 19

The state government is organizing “The Organics and Millets 2018”, an international trade fair from January 19 to 21 at Bengaluru Palace. The trade fair is meant to create awareness among the public about the benefits of organic and millets foods. Also, millet beer is becoming popular and it comes in a variety of combinations with ragi, jaggery, and barley and other varieties of millets are used in a combination with fruits, spices, and vegetables. A millets beer festival, in association with the International Trade Fair in Organics and Millets, will also be held simultaneously. Pubs in the city will serve millet beers from Jan 19 for two weeks.

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