August 06, 2017

07/08/2017: Healthy eating in Asia: How can the global grain industry be a part of it?

by Raghavan 'Ragha' Sampathkumar

Recently, I participated in an event on traditional varieties and cultivars of major and minor cereals and staple crops in India

Many of these such as pearl millet, finger millet, foxtail millet, and pulse crops such as horse gram were once part of everyday diets of Indians.

But in the last few decades, these crops were gradually replaced by a few major ones, i.e. rice, wheat and maize – all grabbing a major share in daily calorie intake.

However, it was heartening to see an enormous amount of diversity in terms of germplasms in crops including rice, wheat, millets and even some native trees.

As a food & agribusiness professional, I was very excited as I can connect each of these with the greatest challenges that global agriculture faces today.

For example, I noticed a traditional rice variety naturally rich in iron content, which can effectively be used to mitigate anaemia. There was a medium duration rice variety, which grows in hilly tracts and does not require as much water as the one grown in the plains and delta regions.

Another rice variety was claimed to be well suited for people suffering from diabetes and another variety was well known for its aroma. Interestingly, there was a unique variety of rice that was claimed to be the preferred one when a newly wed groom visits his spouse’s home.

It was such an enriching and learning experience for me personally. Even though the event was organised in one of the metropolitan cities of India, it was really amazing to see a large number of people who seemed to be curious to know about agriculture.

I noticed parents getting to know about these crops for the first time and explaining to their kids about what they used to see during their childhood in villages. It was also a platform for the audience to learn about urban agriculture including home gardening and terrace gardening.

Read the full article, HERE.

The Global Miller
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