The research on Indian sustainable cereals and millet was undertaken to highlight technological opportunities for value addition and promotion of ethnic foods through home based industries for food and nutrition security under the following projects and outcome is briefed :
- UPCD Tier-I project of the Canadian International Development Agency “Consolidation of nutrition security in Southern India”, McGill University, Canada (2002-2007)
- Research on small millets under the project entitled IFAD, IPGRI, MSSRF project on ‘Enhancing the contribution of nutritious but neglected millet crops to food security and incomes of the rural poor-Asia component: Phase I and II (2000- 2007)
- Canadian International Food Security Research Fund, IDRC Canada. i.e. “Enhancing food security of rural families through production, processing and value addition of regional staple food grains in India” (2010-2013)
Established strong therapeutic value to regional crops:
Meticulous efforts of assessment of grain quality for chemical composition, nutrition, therapeutic use, processing characters and acceptability of end product at consumer level resulted in diversification of food grain for different end utilization in the management of diabetics, development of high yielding varieties and hybrids with improved quality, suitable for diverse production. Grain quality research has helped to sustain food security through post-harvest technology for conserving food in better form and economic accessibility to food. Product development was done with applying various principles like community nutrition problems, storage quality, preservation and packaging, food adulteration, quality control, food safety and sanitation, consumer acceptability and market potentiality. Innovative research fetched in development of several technologies, to solve community nutrition problems viz., diabetes, anemia and protein calorie malnutrition.
Created developmental prospective to indigenous food technologies
The present day economics scenario, emerging globalization and growing consumerism have fast changed the perception of food. Today the consumer is looking for food of convenience, easy commercial availability; ready to eat nature, high quality, nutritive, minimally processed. Through research sufficient scientific information has been generated on regional traditional foods and indigenous food technologies with respect to the quality of ingredients, standardization of recipe, packaging of products and exploitation of simple low cost technologies at commercial level to improve the economic status of the rural community.
Establishing and strengthening proper linkage between producer, processor and consumer
Scientific information generated on sustainable regional crops with respect to nutritional, therapeutic and processing qualities has created value to the local food grains as a high quality grain and thus helped in strengthening the proper linkage between grain quality research and agriculture for developing better quality grains suitable for specific end use, value addition and to improve India’s socio-economic and health status. Scientific information has been communicated to different segments of population throughout reach activities.
Nutrition awareness on local cereals has improved the knowledge and health status of women entrepreneurs and adolescent girls. Developed value added products are highly acceptable by the community and proven technologies are being popularized through farming community and also has an impact on the nutrition and economic security of women entrepreneurs who have taken food processing as one of the challenging entrepreneurial activity.
Women entrepreneurs have succeeded in supplying value added nutri rich recipes of millets in school feeding programmes. They have also started supplying therapeutic foods to education institutions and hospitals with effective feedback and encouragement by the consumers.
The basic research has helped in developing large number of value added products like ready to eat breakfast cereals, therapeutic foods, micronutrient rich composite flours, ready to use mixes, pre-processed and value added traditional products.
Creation of awareness on entrepreneurial activities to political and local leaders and policy makers has helped in mobilization of financial support from MPs fund in starting food processing incubation centers in few villages.
Few SHG’s groups from villages are actively involved in marketing of value added regional cereal products.
Postgraduate students have worked on the quality of local cereals and strengthened the economic value for better marketing. Achieved significant success in popularizing local grains and strengthened the local identity through various communication techniques to the community.
Technologies developed in the area of post harvest technology have reached stake holders through trainings and demonstrations and other communication means. The outcome of research has empowered the rural and urban community economically, by overcoming the problem of drudgery, increased productivity, improved nutritional status, instilled confidence and created self employment opportunities.
Created infrastructure facility for running of B Tech. (Food Technology) under graduate degree programme in UAS, Dharwad. Development of academic curricula of 4 years degree programme in B Tech. (Food Technology).
Development of Infrastructure facility for conducting training and research under CIDA, MSSRF and IDRC funds.
Facilitated an international exposure to post graduate students towards education and research .
Transfer of developed technologies to elective students of FSN under experiential learning course.
Designed rubber Sheller for de-hulling of millet at household level and multiplication and distribution of ten de-hulling machines to three NGO’s under IDRC project.
Introduced post harvest processing units of millet such as de-stoner, grader and emery mill in four millet growing villages to reduce drudgery of women and utilization of millets for household consumption, value addition and marketing.
Introduction of food processing units in villages to run home based food industry.
Developed products from different local cereals can be recommended in combating nutritional problems of the community and supplements the food composition for use in planning therapeutic diets.
The success of value addition to local crops for food and nutrition security, promotion of consumption local staple cereals through innovative post harvesting technologies and strengthening of economic security of rural women entrepreneurs through home based food industries under the above mentioned International projects was mainly because of holistic multidisciplinary approach. This can be up scaled at all India level by strengthening the research and extension of dry land crops. All India Co-ordinated dry land crop improvement projects comes under ICAR, pursue mandated activities in improvement production and protection. Under these projects additional grants should be released for research in the area of value addition, nutrition, post harvest technologies and promotion of technologies. Research and extension should be in collaboration with the additional disciplines from Home Science and Food Technology. Discipline of Food Science and Nutrition, Food processing, post harvest technology and Subject matter specialist of Home Science from KVK’s should be included as specially recognized areas to overcome existing malnutrition in India.