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Food exhibition showcasing millet dishes, sweets and savouries big hit with paramilitary forces and family

The Millets FPO Exhibition organised for the Central Armed Police Forces personnel and family showcased several millet-based products and dishes

The promotion of Shree Anna or millets during the International Year of Millets took a major lead yesterday as an exhibition to showcase these grains was organised for the Central Armed Police Forces personnel at a Border Security Force camp in Chhwala, New Delhi.

Organised by the Department of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, the Millets FPO Exhibition for CAPF — which is under Ministry of Home Affairs – saw more than 30 Farmer Producer Organisations from across the country participating in it. These FPOs members showcased a variety of products including raw millet grains, ready-to-cook items, and ready-to-eat products etc, to approximately 1,000 attendees from various paramilitary forces.

Over 34 FPOs sold their unique range of products to personnel from across the forces and their families. Among the notable highlights of the exhibition were ready-to-eat products like foxtail millet khakhra, bajra cookies, jowar ladoos, millet rusk, ragi namkeen, and cakes among others. Visitors and guests were more than impressed by the remarkable versatility of these ready-to-eat millet-based sweets and savouries and they also expressed a keen interest in learning more about millet flours and ready-to-cook items, such as ragi idli mix, millet uppa and millet noodles and how to use them in their daily diet.

The officers and jawans of the CAPFs and their families also got a chance to enjoy food made during live cooking counters. They sampled varied delectable millet-based dishes such as sorghum (jowar) pasta with vegetables and mayonnaise cream, finger millet (ragi) noodles with sautéed vegetables, millet pongal with curd, sorghum chaach, finger millet (ragi) ladoo with dry fruits, millet sewai, pearl millet (bajra) puff snacks and other dishes.

To carry memories of their visit to this food festival and exhibition, there were selfie booths shaped like sorghum, ragi, and pearl millet for visitors to click pictures of their families and selves.

The event was inaugurated by Faiz Ahmad Kidwai, Additional Secretary, DA&FW. Others present included Maninder Kaur, Additional Secretary, DA&FW and Shubha Thakur, JS (Crops), DA&FW.

Kidwai in his address said that there were more than 75,000 FPOs working to support small farmers with resources and market connections. He added that the 34 FPOs which came for this exhibition wanted to not only showcase the variety of millet products in India but also connect with CAPF canteens and departmental stores for future procurement.

It may be recalled that earlier this year, the Ministry of Home Affairs decided to introduce 30% millets in the meals of personnel of CAPFs and National Disaster Response Force. The objective of this decision was to promote millets as an energy-rich food choice for paramilitary personnel and to support their physically demanding routines with millets which are full of fibre, minerals, and essential nutrients.

DA&FW had in August 2023 also organized a culinary training session for more than 250 chefs and cooks working with paramilitary forces, including the Assam Rifles, BSF, Central Industrial Security Force, Central Reserve Police Force, Indo-Tibetan Border Police, National Security Guard, Sashastra Seema Bal, and various government canteens.