Goa State Horticulture Coperation’s Krishighar at Tonca… retails vegetables, fruits, cereals and pulses at economical rates but we found no millets here, despite this being millets promotion year!

By Tara Narayan

It’s raining millet celebrations all around in Goa and I wonder why the government won’t sell good quality millets at its 1,000 plus `Krishgarh’ outlets at subsidized rates? Like it sells vegetables and pulses?

WE are living in expensive and anarchical times, also weird times when everyone seems to be at cross purposes! After a long time I thought I’d stop buying my veggies from the Panaji market and the footpath vendors of Taleigao and go back to buying at one of the Goa horticulture or Krishgarh outlets, where one may buy vegetables and even pulses at subsidized rates. Up at the Altinho Panaji Krishigarh and the Tonca Krishgarh one may shop for veggies at more affordable rates and one section I was surprised to a pile of pulses for sale – tur, moong, maasur, udid, whole moong, chana, etc. And reasonably lower prices…I searched for nachne/ragi/finger millet and jowar (sorgum) – but found none.
What, no millets at all at the Krishigarhs of Goa after all the millets promotions going on all over! Even the Tonca Krishigarh offered no millets but I realized anew that it’s economical to buy veggies and these Krishigarhs if you visit in the morning and stand in the queue! Potatoes and onions for the day were chalked up here at Rs17kg and Rs22kg and I bought some. Oranges were listed at Rs87kg, ginger78kg…and this was good yellow fragrant ginger, hard to find! I’m going to shop at the Krishigarh more often, gives me an excuse to go up to Altinho too which I love to do.
In my small home of two lonely seniors only I am currently on a trip to switch over from rice and wheat and I find I can’t for the life of me start even with smallest changeovers! But I’m trying although I feel how stuck I am in a groove with the different tastes of two people…still, whenever I am at one of the extreme Goenkar festivals organized by some festakars (Marius & Company), I see if amongst fare going I may find some prized jowar or nachne bhakri.
At the recent Duler agricultural farm millets promotion I found some excellent jowar bhakri along with green chilly-garlic-roasted peanut choora or “thecha” Maharashtrian-style. Since nowadays I carry my own dibba to avoid bringing home plastic containers I bought two of the jowar bhakri with generous scoop of thecha from Ashwini Chodankar (all the way from down south Goa Mormugoa) and came home and put the dibba in the fridge. Two days later I found time to take out the box and relish the still perfect if drier jowar bhakri and thecha and relished it like nothing else in recent times!
I made two ghee-laced phulka for the hubby and a sabzi but for myself I enjoyed the jowar bhakri which stood me good for the entire day, could skip dinner happily without pining for some left over carbs in the fridge (a veggie kichadi of rice and moong dal). The next time around I’m making a millet kichadi for myself and stock it in the fridge.
THEN last week while up at the Altinho one morning I found myself at the Krishi ghar opposite the Forest department offices and said hello to it – again I was thinking that I would find some good nachne millet at least. But it was nothing doing. All the Krishigarhs in Goa only stock veggies, fruit, cereals, pulses (presumably from Belgaum) – but no millets! Strange, considering how much the Central and State budget must be to promote millets at the series of millet festivals unrolling across Goa – there’s another one coming up this Saturday, March 25, 2026 but this one is organized by the Directorate of Food & Drugs Administration, this “Eat Right Millets Mela” will also be celebrating the joys of millets at the ESG/INOX courtyard from 4pm onwards.

Very democractic: At the GSHCs Krishighar outlets at Tonca and Altinho… price lists of goods being sold are up for all to see.

There will be talks on why we should eat millets, cultural programs, a debate on food safety, healthy millets recipe competition for public and also live demonstrations on how best you may eat your millets. Plus, there will be food stalls serving up millets-based food along traditional lines…I’m looking forward to buying home some more jowar roti and bajra roti too!
ALL this roti and bhakri talk reminds me of all my life I’ve grown up learning and making the fine Guju wheat flour “rotli” or phulka; as a teenager always in a hurry to get out of the house, my mother would make me do a stack of the Guju thin “rotli” before wandering off out of the house…and if she found any flop rotli tucked away in the bin, she would knock knock knock me on my knuckles with the belan with the timeless message engrained on my conscience — “nobody will marry you!”
Today on good days or bad days I make phulka although I dearly want to stop eating leftover rotli from the fridge in my home…by the way dried out roti from the fridge can be pretty good, just tear the pieces and temper them with buttermilk and a few herbals, be sure to stir-fry in chopped onion, garlic, curry leaves, yummylicious! Stir-fired roti or bhakri of any kind is a quick recipe, be inventive in doing things simply. For that matter one also do stir-fried leftover stale bread!
This is to say see you at the millets mela at INOX courtyard, this one is hoping to be better than all the rest so far, except that I do think such festivals are best enjoyed in one of the garden parks or one of the garden plant nurseries of capital city Panaji (true, currently enshrouded with clouds of road work going on) …but with the festivals at least the gardens and parks would get a clean-up! Anyway, see you at the mela my friends from “How to Millets” WhatsApp group…Nifa, Dr S Nayak, Revati, Geeta, Allwlyn, Ann, Cristobel and some more.
These days I’m wishing dearly that someone would start putting out freshly made jowar and bajra bhakri at some of the outlets down town – hey, there are any number of readymade wheat chappati packets and some of them very good, but nobody is doing millets bhakri or anything millets! If I could just stay alive on just two jowari bhakri a day to go on a millets only diet – and cheer up my heart which is aching anew these days with all kinds of other aches. A year ago I think some folk did start supplying nachne and bajra bhakri at the small grocery or kirana outlets but there were no takers and they closed down. There are takers for wheat roti but not millet roti or bhakri. But then millets were not getting the royal promotion a year ago like they are getting now, try again. Be a nachne and bajra bhakri entrepreneur and good luck!
MOST of all and if Directorate of Agriculture’s Director Nevil Alphonso is listening, I wish the millets as well as nachne and bajra bhakri would retail economically at the various Goa government Krishighar. Here’s on name you may call on if you’re interested in variety of chappati/roti/bhakri (primarily unleavened Indian bread): Call Savita Chavan who does a whole of good things like chapatti, phulke, bhakri (jowar, nachne, bajra), also nevri, besan laddu, chewda, shankarpali, chakri, missal pav, puran poli, sanza poli, dates poli, coconut poli, a host of masala etc. Her number is 8208703575. She’s also got various kinds of pickles, papad…even dahi chilli which is a southern India condiment of green chillies pasted in curd masala and dried out in the sun. To use you need to stir-fry them and crush into a rice dish for flavouring a quick fix meal. Same treatment as dal vadi or dried out veggie nuggets which can flavour up a simple rice or roti meal. The poor and middle-classes of India eat in very many interesting ways, healthy and not so healthy. The rich of course may eat in terribly sophisticated as also gross ways because they can afford so much more!
EVERYONE is seeking better health parameters these days including me. Just off the cuff I asked an upper crust friend of mine in her mid-70s, how come she is so youthful? She replied, “Every morning I put a half-a-teaspoon of turmeric in a glass of hot water and drink it, I may also add ginger juice and lemon juice to it; then I soak a teaspoon of fenugreek seeds every night and next day chew them up along with the bitter water…I also soak three/five almonds and walnuts and eat them for breakfast. Then daily I do an hour’s yoga, go for a walk…twice a week go and play cards at my club. That’s what keeps my memory going!” Oh, once a week she also soaks a teaspoon of chia seeds in a glass of water overnight – next morning drinks it and gets a super smooth evacuation afterwards, “This is when I’ve been partying and eaten some junk food!”
Smoke on all that, my dears. Did I ever mention here that the time has come when the rich will live forever, and the poor will die out?

BEFORE you knock the country’s sacred “gaumata” go and find out everything you can about these bovine animals respected from time immemorial. Towards education and sharing knowledge the Gau-Gyan Gomantak is having a series of sessions to introduce the story of cows and gau-culture, and how there’s an entire economy enshrined in the respected gaumata. This 7-day event is organised from March 22 to 28, 2023 from 4 pm onwards at the Sikeri Gaushala, Sikeri, Mayem, Bicholim, Goa. A special invitee to throw light on classical knowledge about “gomata” is Vaidya Hitesh Jani (renowned Ayurvedacharya and gauvigyan scientist). The sessions are open to everyone interested in the care and maintenance of dairy farms, pharmaceutical industries to do with “panchagavya,” turning Goa into a model state in gau-based organic farming, A2-milk based dairy farming, dairy tourism, empowering women and much else. The workshop is organised by the Gomantak Gausevak Mahasangh and Patanjali Parivaar and supported by Goa Council of Ayurvedic and other allied Indian system of medicines, Ayurved Vyaspeeth, Goa Ayurvedic Medical Association, Goa Agriculture Department and Goa Animal Husbandry Department, ICAR and others. For more details you may contact Vaidya Pratibha Doshi on 7768076226.

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