L. R. Kannan’s home in Kamarajar Salai is buzzing with activity. His five-member family is busy promoting the health value of small millet by manufacturing different kinds of flour, packing and selling them to their neighbours at a nominal price of less than Rs 30. Rava dosa, puttu, chappathi and pearl millet flour are some of the products on sale.
“We are happy that a large number of people have started realising the value of millet. The protein rich products made of small millet are gaining popularity in Madurai”, according to Mr Kannan.
The motivation to launch the enterprise came after Mr. Kannan’s sister T. S. Urmila attended a course conducted by the Tamil Nadu Agriculture University last year on manufacturing food items from small millet. Mrs Urmila left her job in a private company and with the aid of her sister in law L.K. Jayanthi started manufacturing small millet flour.
“During my training, I understood how healthy small millet are. I wanted to promote them and my sister in law joined me. Later, my entire family involved itself in promoting small millet. Now we have several satisfied customers, Mrs Urmila said.
“We also go to apartments in the city, interact with the women to promote the flour. We also give suggestions and pass on ideas to our neighbours and any one interested manufacturing small millet flour ”, she said.
Sixty eight- year- old Brindha, who grew up on a diet of millet, was only too happy to join the team. “There is a general conception that food items made of millet are not as tasty. We want to dispel that notion”, she told The Hindu.
“We buy millet from the market at present. But we are planning to buy them directly from the farmers in Tirumangalam area. This will not just be cost effective, but will assure farmers that millet are still in demand”, concluded Mr Kannan.