ICRISAT introduces healthier, safer snacks
() - October 9, 2011 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), on World Heart Day, has come up with a variety of healthier and safer nutritious snacks made of sorghum and millet for the fast food consumers. These cereals have higher nutrition value than rice and wheat besides being rich in dietary fiber, a quality that makes them diabetic-friendly.

These snacks were developed by scientists at the NutriPlus Knowledge Program (NPK), which is a part of ICRISAT’s Agribusiness and Innovation Platform (AIP).

“In addition to the health snacks, we are looking at several other exciting possibilities to raise the value of these nutritious grains to have an impact on small-holder farmers who grow these crops,” said Dr. Saikat Datta Mazumdar, leading scientist at the NPK Program.

According to ICRISAT, in addition to introducing better, healthier and safer fast food for consumers, sorghum and millet snacks will create new markets for these crops. This market opportunity will link poor farmers to the Indian agro-food industry and increase their incomes.

ICRISAT’s food technology researchers are also looking into partnerships with the private sector and development organizations to find solutions for post-harvest issues and explore new markets for dryland crops such as sorghum and millet.

“We would like to research and possibility of sorghum or millet-based enriched biscuits for school feeding programs in Asia and Africa. We could also develop and promote simple processing technologies and innovations for mothers to prepare nutritious baby food in families where malnourishment is an issue,” said Dr. Mazumdar.

ICRISAT Director General Dr. William Dar highlighted the value of this food technology research for reducing rural poverty. “By tapping into the health promoting properties of dryland crops like sorghum and millet we can help address an urgent public health issue at the same time creating new markets for these subsistence crops, which are produced mostly by smallholder farmers,” said Dr. Dar.

AGRIBUSINESS AND INNOVATION PLATFORM ASIA AND AFRICA CROPS DR. DAR DR. MAZUMDAR DR. SAIKAT DATTA MAZUMDAR DR. WILLIAM DAR INTERNATIONAL CROPS RESEARCH INSTITUTE KNOWLEDGE PROGRAM SEMI-ARID TROPICS WORLD HEART DAY
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