» Ragi Flour Mill

Ragi Flour Mill

Finger millet is a major food crop of the semi-arid tropics of Asia and Africa and has been an indispensable component of farming systems. In Jharkhand, it is cultivated over an area of 0.490 mha with total production of about 27412 ton and productivity 684 kg per hectare. Wide adaptations, easy cultivation, free from major pests and diseases and drought tolerance have made this crop an indispensable component of farming system.

Finger millet is considered one of the most nutritious cereals. Finger millet contains about 5–8% protein, 1–2% ether extractives, 65–75% carbohydrates, 15–20% dietary fiber and 2.5–3.5% minerals. Of all the cereals and millets, finger millet has the highest amount of calcium (344mg %) and potassium (408mg%). The cereal has low fat content (1.3%) and contains mainly unsaturated fat. 100 grams of Finger millet has roughly on an average of 336 KCal of energy in them.

Even after such benefits, it has gradually fallen out of being the staple diet from villages. Most of the production is exported.

LEADS through its RACE project aims to inculcate following value additions to the cultivation of Ragi:

  • Enterprise creation – through solar operated processing unit in Khunti district
  • Employment generation across the supply chain of ragi
  • Awareness building among the local population and rural in particular for adoption of ragi in their food habits
  • Promotion of ragi cultivation as it draught tolerant and can grow on less-fertile lands
  • Promotion of ragi as an intercropping candidate across its other agricultural activities
  • Conservation of culture of millet consumption which was in vogue earlier and has been losing grounds to wheat and rice.

Ragi cultivation is carried out in the intervention district of Khunti with the help of SHG and Producer Groups (PG). The SHGs are trained to carry out cultivation, who after production carry out pre- processing activities of threshing, grading, sorting, winnowing, etc. and maintain inventory of the millet. They along with PG mobilise the farmers for taking up the cultivation of ragi. Producer Groups perform the following functions

  • Procurement from farmers for processing
  • Production of ragi flour and its processing activities
  • Marketing
  • Management activities

Economics

The cost of procurement comes to around Rs.25/kg. Pre-processing, processing and other charges are approximately Rs1, Rs3 and Rs1 per kg. From the procured grains weighing 1kg, flour of weight 900gm is produced. Thus the overall production cost of 1 kg of ragi flour comes to Rs. 33.33/kg which can easily be sold at market for Rs. 60. The wholesale procurement price is Rs.44.

The processing unit has the capacity to process 40-50kg of grains which runs for 6 hours a day totally on solar power at Perka Training Centre of LEADS. Thus the processing capacity presently is 240-300kg per day.

Way Forward

Presently the production is carried out in 15 villages each with a producer group by 300 farmers in their fields, whose size range from 25 dismile to 50 dismile land of Khunti district. Jharkhand being a plateau region has lots of non-fertile lands which are suitable for cultivating ragi. Also, it has the potential to change economic and health status of masses. Simultaneously, as it is draught resistant and free from pest attacks and diseases, they don’t require chemical fertilizers or pesticides and hence environment friendly as well.

Thus, LEADS aims to motivate 5000 famers of ragi belt regions of Khunti, Simdega, Gumla, Ranchi and W. Singhbhum to update its cultivate and enterprise development to bring about a change in the lives of the people. Employing clean energy for the processing would play the key role in the lifetime of this intervention.

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