Millet Food Expo at CSIR-NIIST draws steady crowd of visitors

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· Free entry for public from 10 am to 7 pm

From ragi biscuits to mixed-millet bread and noodles to laddus, a wide selection of mouth-watering delicacies and kitchen staples are on sale at the ongoing Millet Food Expo at CSIR-NIIST campus at Pappanamcode in the city, drawing a steady stream of visitors since it opened early this week with entry being free for the public from 10 am to 7 pm.

The first such event in the city, the Millet Food Festival is a key segment of the March 13-18 ‘One Week One Lab’ programme organised by CSIR-National Institute for Interdisciplinary Science and Technology to showcase achievements of each of 37 laboratories of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

The Millet Food Festival aims to promote cultivation, consumption and value-addition of highly nutritious millets, now a key component of the food basket the world over. The event coincides with declaration of 2023 as the International Year of Millets by the United Nations.

The items on display at the expo are mostly brought by MSMEs from different parts of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The units that have come with their products include startups incubated by Cottage-level Food Processing Incubation -cum-Training Centre of the National Institute of Food Technology, Entrepreneurship and Management (NIFTEM), Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu.

The wide range of items on display and sale include millet breakfast mix or flour (dosa, idly batter, upma, puttu and chappati), breakfast cereals, instant millet pulao, sprouted millet ceremix. The visitors can also savour extruded products like noodles, pasta, puffed millet products and vermicelli apart from snacks and dessert items like millet icecream, cookies, vada premix, laddoos, cakes, brownies, murukku, rusk, pakkavada, energy bars, Pizza and other savouries like Bhelpuri. Also available are millet health mix – Sathumaavu powder.

There are also products from Wayanad, Idukki and Palakkad districts in Kerala, grown by indigenous communities. Various millet processing equipments are also on display.

The biggest advantage of millet-based edible items is that they could be relished without bothering about any ill-effect for health since they are completely free of chemical-based preservatives and high-fat additives. Also, they are affordably priced and many of them have good shelf-life as well.

The products are made of millets such as Peral millet (kambam/bajra), foxtail millet (thina), porso millet (panivaraku), finger millet (panjapullu/raggi), Kodo millet (varagu), barnyard millet (kuthiravaali) and little millet (chaama).

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