Hyderabad: IIMR’s new ‘rice-like millet’ variety to add fun to healthy eating

Hyderabad: Researchers at the Indian Institute of Millet Research (ICAR-IIMR) have devised an innovative method to transform millet powder into ‘millet rice’.

This is done through a process called reconstitution.

According to B. Dayakar Rao, the CEO of Nutrihub (an organization established by IIMR to promote millet technologies), the technique enhances the nutritional content of millets by incorporating additives such as energy and fibre.

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Speaking to a group of visiting women entrepreneurs from FICCI Ladies Organisation (FLO) who were on a tour of IIMR, Dayakar Rao said that millets were being altered into the shape of rice, to attract those averse to consuming millets into eating these food grains.

The initial focus has been on creating ‘millet rice’ from kodo millets, a specific type of grain. However, the process can be extended to produce rice from various other millets, marking a potential game-changer in dietary habits.

Despite the success of the method, there are concerns regarding shelf life, with the current duration being six months. Efforts are underway to extend this period further.

One significant advantage of this approach is the reduction in cooking time by approximately 20%, making it a convenient option for those accustomed to the quick preparation associated with rice.

During a session, Rao highlighted India’s leading position as the largest global producer of millet, with 19 percent of the total millet cultivation area and 20 percent of global production.

Director of ICAR-IIMR, Tara Satyavathi emphasized the importance of transitioning from food security to nutrition security. She stressed that while the current focus is on calorie consumption, there is a need to shift toward more nutritious food options, with millet playing a crucial role in this.

Over the last five years, the firm has successfully incubated 400 millet start-ups, with an additional 100 currently undergoing incubation at its centre in Rajendranagar.

The efforts of ICAR-IIMR and Nutrihub reflect a broader initiative to promote the consumption of millet for improved nutrition and health benefits.