One of the problems faced by millet farmers is of processing. Some millets like korale are hard-coated grains requiring processing multiple times. Unprocessed millets are difficult to sell.
Unlike ragi and jowar, popular millets requiring least processing and are part of staple diets, other millets require processing before they can be consumed.
Traditionally, these millets were pounded using stones to make them fit for consumption. Those in the industry say Proso millet (Baragu), Brown Top millet (Korale), Kodo millet (Arka), Barn Yard millet (Udalu), Little Millet (Save) and Fox-tailed millet (Navane) all require intense processing.
For example, farmer leader G. Narasimha Reddy said we need to make korale rice, from korale in specially designed flour mills. According to him, while farmers of Andhra Pradesh have such mills, similar ones are not present in Pavagada taluk.
A Haveri-based millet mill owner said that with limited millet mills, farmers will be in a difficult position to sell unprocessed millets directly.
“There has to be a purchase agreement,” the miller said.
Krupa T., president, Karnataka State Cooperative Organic Agriculture Produce Marketing Federation, said that running a millet mill was expensive compared to a normal rice mill.
“The millets have to be processed five to six times to be fit for consumption. There are local mills in the cooperative sector that are running on single machine where the level of manual intervention is high. We have to be careful during processing else the product can be rejected in the market,” said Mr. Krupa, who also heads one of the largest millet mills in the State.
First published by The Hindu on 23 Feb. 2020