Ernakulam Krishi Vigyan Kendra set to popularise millet-fish fusion; a festival scheduled later this month

Ernakulam Krishi Vigyan Kendra set to popularise millet-fish fusion; a festival scheduled later this month

Ernakulam, Kerala: The Ernakulam Krishi Vigyan Kendra of the ICAR-Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) is set to facilitate market value chain for millets within Kerala and popularise fusion flavours of millet-fish combo as a balanced diet.

In line with this move, a three-day millet-fish festival will be held in Kochi starting December 28 to bring together millet farmers, farmer producer companies, agri startups, fish processors, traders, fish lovers and consumers under one umbrella.

From fostering connections between farmers and markets to promoting a healthy culinary combination to encouraging start-up initiatives, a series of objectives are targeted during the event.

A buyer-seller meet, live fish sale, sale of millets and millet-based products, millet cookery show, millet recipe contest, technology exhibition, product launch, nutrition and health talks and seminars are planned on the sidelines of the three-day event.

The festival will also have a Lakshadweep farmers' stall showcasing indigenous farm produce and food products from the islands.

"The festival will focus on promoting healthy eating habits and developing a market value chain in Kerala for millets produced by farmers in other states," said Dr A Gopalakrishnan, Director of Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI).

"The combination of millets and fish is highly prospective as a wholesome and nutritional diet, enriching the diverse tapestry of Kerala cuisine. Creating awareness of tasty recipes and fusion flavours is a crucial step to popularise these dishes," he said.

The event is supported by various organizations, including the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), ICAR-Indian Institute of Millets Research in Hyderabad, National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB) in Hyderabad, ICAR-Indian Institute of Spices Research (IISR), Kozhikkode, ICAR-Central Institute of Fisheries Technology (CIFT), Kochi, Commissionerate of Food Safety Kerala, National Institute of Fisheries Post Harvest Technology and Training (NIFPHATT), among many others.

Millets are also the most secure crops for small farmers as they are resilient and climate-adaptable in both hot and drought environments. India produces all the nine commonly known traditional millets viz. Sorghum, Pearl Millet, Finger Millet, Foxtail Millet, Proso Millet, Little Millet, Barnyard Millet, Browntop Millet and Kodo Millet.

Millet is a common term for categorizing small-seeded grasses that are often called Nutri-cereals. Most of the states in India grow one or more millet crop species.

The government of India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi spearheaded the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolution for declaring the year 2023 as the International Year of Millets and the proposal of India was supported by 72 countries.