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Home Glossary Staple Foods Ragi - Nachni (Nathno) Finger Millets

Ragi - Nachni (Nathno) Finger Millets

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RAGI,  (nachni - nathno) Finger millet  a hardy crop that provides high quality nutrition at a low price. 

Before the introduction of maize, ragi was a significant food crop in southern India.


Food uses:
Throughout the tropics, sprouted ragi seeds are a nutritious and easily digestible food ideal for weaning infants and the elderly. Ground ragi is a base for porridges, puddings and baked foods, and the whole grain is eaten as a popped food.

In Indonesia, the whole grain is popular as a vegetable. Ragi flour can be baked into bread and flat breads.

Nutrition value: 100 gm of ragi seed provide nearly 370 Calorie, with 88 gm of carbohydrate, 7.6 gm of protein and 1.5 gm of fat. Ragi grain contains more protein, fat and carbohydrate than maize, rice and jowar (sorghum). Combined with its low cost,  his makes ragi a highly affordable source of high-class nutrition for those doing hard labour. The grain is also rich in important minerals like calcium, phosphorus and iron and in methionine, an essential amino acid that the body must have in the daily diet. Ragi is also a better cereal for diabetics than rice or maize. Ragi is a folk cure for liver ailments, leprosy, measles, pneumonia and other lung ailments. The leaf juice is a medicinal drink for women in labour.

Millets like jowar (sorghum), bajra (pearl millets) and ragi (finger millets), are also called coarse grains. They are kharif crops and are chiefly rain-fed crops, requiring hardly any irrigational facilities. Unlike rice, they grow in less rainy areas in the following order-ragi, (damp areas), jowar (moist areas), and bajra (dry areas). Ragi, which requires comparatively more rain, is grown more usually in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu; jowar in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, and Bajra in the drier parts of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan and south-west Uttar Pradesh. India leads the world in production of millets. The region under these crops has not amplified. But the production of jowar and bajra has improved from 7 million tonnes to 19 million tonnes by 1996-97. Millets have protein content higher than both wheat and rice individually.

Nachni / Ragi (Finger Millet)

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