Millets in the market

September 9, 2016

Finger millet, Pearl millet and Sorghum are three millets that are available at reasonable prices in different shops across the country. Some of these stores have also started stocking different varieties of these millets.

The other six millets - Foxtail, Little, Kodo, Proso, Barnyard, and Brown Top - are a little harder to find in today’s market place. The lack of access to good quality processing weakens the supply chain and needs to be addressed at the earliest. The weak supply chain leads to a significant increase in risks and therefore in the pricing of the finished products.

Several unscrupulous elements are taking advantage of the lack of familiarity and knowledge of these grains among the consumers. They source their millets from large processors who have polished the grains completely leaving behind very little of the bran layer - a nutritionally inferior product when compared to unpolished whole grain millet rices.

There are a few fairly simple ways to identify if the millet rice you are buying is polished or not.

  1. Observe the colour of the millet rice kernels. If it is a bright and shiny white, it is most likely polished grains. Semi polished millet rices have a dull off white colour and the unpolished ones are typically fairly colourful.
  2. Pick up a fistful of the material in one of your palms, pour the millet rice gradually into the other palm. Repeat the process a few times and if the millet rice is polished you shall observe some dust sticking to your palm and fingers. If it is unpolished, the millet dust will be negligible.
  3. Hold a fistful of material in one of you hands for a say, 15 seconds. Empty your hand and with the palm open, feel the area in which the material was being held with a finger of the other hand. If it is as dry as the region away from the contact with the rice, the millet rice has been polished. Unpolished millets have a good proportion of their bran intact. Given the high fatty acid content, it will leave traces of oil on the palm and this is easily felt by a finger from the other hand.