Scaling Up Small Millet Post-Harvest and Nutritious Food Products (CIFSRF Phase 2)
Small millets have superior nutritional qualities and climate resilience, but small millet production and consumption in many South Asian countries, such as India, remains low. This project will address the challenge with research that will scale up small millet processing and value-added technologies. Technology solutions to improve processing Processing millets for modern food preparation is difficult, but new and practical innovations can make the grain easier to process, sell, and consume. This project will scale up use of two small millet production innovations developed through IDRC-funded research: improved post-harvest processing equipment and new millet-based food products. Engineers from Canada and India have developed two low-cost machines that farming communities, entrepreneurs, and food producers can easily use to separate the outer husk from the millet seed. This is a laborious and time-consuming job typically done by women. The innovation will increase local production and opportunities to use these micronutrient-rich grains in healthy food products. Advancing knowledge and healthy options Building on previous research that developed 40 new millet-based snack foods, baked goods, and other products, the research team will work with local communities, especially women's self-help groups, to implement this project. The project will take a supply chain approach to test interventions at different levels in the production-to-consumption system. This includes testing new ways to provide customized business development support to small- and medium-sized enterprises, training micro enterprises and farmer organizations, and linking key supply chain players. The research team will also provide support to equipment manufacturers to ensure they have the capacity and capabilities to provide dehullers and other equipment that meet the processing needs of villages, micro-enterprises, and other companies. Small scale, large impact By the end of the project, two new business models will be tested to help governments and companies expand millet production and distribution across India and beyond. The project will increase capacity within at least five companies to manufacture different dehulling and processing equipment. These companies will serve villages, micro-enterprises, and large food producers. The project will also increase skills and knowledge at 10 small enterprises (e.g., hotels), 150 micro-enterprises (e.g., street vendors), and three farmer organizations to market appealing, ready-to-eat small millet products to more than 120,000 consumers. This project is funded under the Canadian International Food Security Research Fund (CIFSRF), a program of IDRC undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through Global Affairs Canada (GAC).