Summary of the 152nd Seminar of SDF & Inauguration of the Global Millets Foundation on 22nd January

 Dr. K. M. George, the Chairman of SDF and Secretary General of GMF briefly introduced the   speakers and other dignitaries and welcomed the gathering of invited  guests.

  Hon. Justice (Rtd) Dr. K. Narayana Kurup, the Patron of SDF in his Presidential Address informed that 90 million Africans depend on Millets for their food, and they produce  25% of the total global production  of millets and Asia accounts for 40% of the global production. About 130 countries in the world cultivate Millets which are rich in protein, vitamins and minerals. He further informed that there are 60 million Diabetic and 40 million pre-diabetic  people in India and in his opinion Millets lower BP, Blood sugar and Cholesterol. Millets are fibre rich food which would avoid the risk of intestinal cancer he added and encouraged Global Millets Foundation to take its mission to greater heights.

 Dr K. P. P. Nambiar, an intellect and a scholar of global reputation showered immense attributes on. Dr. K. M. George and revealed that Dr. George is a well-known and well accepted person in various parts of the world and he even does not hesitate to ornament him as the ” Ooramana Thampuran”. As a matter of fun he was of the opinion that the human brain starts working at birth and stops when you fail to face  the audience. He has taken us to the era of Ottoman Empire when Christians and other local tribes used to be addressed as Millets, the same way was the little grains were considered alien and small. But he told us that this little grains are not so little. He was nostalgic about his school days when boys had only open grounds for micturition and the Millets cultivated in those lands yielded good harvest. As it was cultivated and harvested in draught it was called Famine Grass (Panja Pullu) and the farmers knew that the crop doesn’t need much rain to sustain it. He informed that India stood 5th as exporter of Millets. 2023 is declared as the Global Millet year and the next conclave on Millets will be on 6th December 2023 at Rome. In Kerala Millets are mainly cultivated in Attapady and other hilly areas. In the context of global climate change Millets are better resistant to vagaries of nature like draughts etc. Dr.  Nambiar was referring to the formal launching of the ‘Year of Millet’, at FAO headquarters, Rome, on 6th December 2022.

He  also proposed that a ‘Millet Development Authority’ be formed especially targeting  the  wellbeing of  Tribals and other weaker sections of the  society, in line with similar vehicles of progress in other States, such as Karnataka . He declared the   Global Millets Foundation  as  inaugurated. 

Mr. Naser Ezhathinikkad, known as the Kerala Millet man was with an open mind to list out the advantages of Millett diet for achieving and maintaining good health, himself being a living example. Some 15 years ago his weight was 165 kg and now he weighs 85 kg, also being   hale, healthy and energetic. When he was in the 10th standard he was weighing 85kg while his father weighed 78kgs.He was embarrassed and isolated by the people around and everyday was pulled on with mental agony. He narrated many occasions in his life when he was much worried about his extraordinary body weight. One such occasion was, when he with his friends visited Veegaland for enjoyment, and the authorities denied him permission in a particular ride for it could not hold him. Such embarrassing situations were many in his life. But, on resorting to Millet diet he could bring down his body weight to normal range and also according to him, he was relieved of, BP, Hyperglycaemia and Hypercholesteremia. He further stated that members of his family and his relatives have also switched on to Millet diet which could alleviate many of their health problems. He described and demonstrated cooking methods of Millets. One important aspect he specifically emphasised is to use less oil and no Tamarind, chilly and sugar. His contention is that this mode of cooking will give us a good processed and fibre rich Carbohydrate. He arranged a very delicious dinner cooked with Millets alone. Another important option he suggested was to use different Millets daily or at least on alternate days.                                         

Sri. A. M. Muhammed I P S   ( Rtd.) known as the Millets Ambassador of the ailing and needy spoke of the famine during 1959 and its aftermath. Kerala was a rice centred diet region and the introduction of wheat and other grains especially Millets was a part of dealing with famine and ensuring food security through green revolution.  He from his vast experience during his service in 28 states and 2 UTS informed that 40% of people in Gujarat and Karnataka and 50% people in North East India are now on Millet Diet. He stated that Thenna containing 8%fibre is neurotoxic, Coovaragu is good against blood related diseases and disease of immune system. He further elicited on the report of WHO about the incidence of Diabetes. According to the report, it is11% of the population at present and their prediction is, by 2031 it will be 22%. and 10% of the total expense for medicine will be for drugs against Diabetes. He dealt at large about adulteration of food, especially cooking oils. He has designed a mix of millet diet which he advocates to be the best as the different millets have different fibre content and vitamins and minerals.                           

   Ms. Bhavana Kauler, having Australian citizenship also stressed the need for organising Self Help Groups to take up Millet cultivation. She also emphasised that due attention needs to be given for manufacture of value added Millets products like adding Millets in bakery items, vermicelli etc. She has set up a Self-Help Group consisting of 250 farmers at Allahabad, UP for cultivation of Millets. She stressed the importance of preserving the original organic seeds in place of hybrid millet seeds and she is trying to keep a bank of unadulterated millet seeds.

She presented a Boomerang from Australia which could be a sign of reconciliation with nature through millets to Dr. K. M. George and donated Rs. 10,000 to GMF.     

Shri. P. H. Kurian  IAS was very point specific in that he stressed the need to formulate a policy with a mission and a vision. He pointed out that the areas and agencies for Millets production should be identified, proper mechanism and manpower requirement for cultivation, nurturing, harvesting, processing value addition and marketing have to be assessed and set in order so that the millet cultivation becomes a profitable and popular enterprise in a social engineering perspective.

Shri Kurian   went on  emphasising  the need to have  clear vision an d mission  for  the  GMF. Life style  changing culture  to be propagated and  inculcated    in the community  as  a  challenge   to  GMF. Herbal  centres and  yoga  centres  are to   be made  the nodal  agencies to  popularise the  millets  for  human and   environmental  well-being.

 He declared the Kerala Chapter of Global Millet Foundation inaugurated.     

The GMF Logo, designed  and sponsored by  Mr  Ajikumar  Nayar  ( Media  Advisor of  GMF)  was  released by   Hon  Justice  Kurup, Dr.  KPP Nambiar and  Mr  Ajkumar  Nayar, Mr  AM Muhammed  IPS  ( Rtd),  and  Rev Paul Ramban .

The  website of  GMF   was  designed  and    sponsored  by  Mr. Ajikumar  Nayar  ( GMF  Media  Advisor)  the  GMF website  was  launched  by  Rev  Thomas  Paul Ramban, Mr  Ajikumar  Nayar ,Dr.  KM George, Mr  KV Murukan  and Ms Bhavna  Kauler.  

The inauguration of Food Fest  was  jointly done by Shri  PV  Thomas  Pulikeel   &  Dr.  BJ Meledom.

 Millett Cake   was  cut by Mr. Joy  Mookenthottam ;  Miss Fatima Nasar,  Mr  Nasar Ezhathinikkad,, Hon Justice  Kurup and Dr. KPP Nambiar.

The  Millets only  dinner  was  sponsored  by  Mr  Nasar  and  family  members.   The  great   support   provided by Mrs  Abeeda  Nasar and  her  daughter Miss Fatima Nasar and son Mr.  Salman Nasar was    great  to the make  the  fest  a  success. The  support  provided by  Mr  Nisar –the famous hotelier  from Calicut and his  friend Mr.  Unnikrishanan Raghavan  is  acknowledged with  thanks. Mr.  Nasar  is  the Kerala  Millets  man and  he is  the  chairman  of  the  Kerala  Chapter  of  Global Millets  Foundation.

GMF  is  indebted to  Dr. Khadar Valli—the  Millet  man of  India–  for  his constant  motivation and encouragement to  go   forward with our millets  mission unwaveringly.

Dr. Mathew Abraham summarised the salient take home points Very  vividly and lucidly.

Dr. P. O. Abraham, Secretary  General  of SDF delivered vote of thanks and the meeting came to a close at 6.40pm and disbursed for  a  millets only  dinner for  all.  

The  GMF  is  indebted  to  Dr.  PO Abraham and  Rev  Er Dr.  Abin Abraham  in   drafting   the  rapporteur’s   report and  the  same is  presented  to  you all  for information,  comment’s  and  follow up.

Dr.  KM George,

Secretary General,

Global Millets  Foundation

26th  January,  2023

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