Dinesh Kumar

Ashoka Fellow
India,
Fellow Since 2014
Earth 360

Citation

This profile was prepared when Dinesh Kumar was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2014.
The New Idea
Dinesh is creating the enabling environment to retrieve millets, a nutritious substitute to rice and wheat, and encourage their consumption as a staple food in India. By pioneering a much-needed processing system for millets, he is creating the capacity among farmers and micro-entrepreneurs to make available quality, nutritious, whole grain millet to the consumers at scale.

Through his work, Dinesh is leverging agriculture to meet the twin objectives of enhacing incomes and improving nutrition. Environmentally adaptive and drought tolerant, millets provide immense opportunity to revilatlize the rainfed farming economy. Further, as highly nutritive grains they offer a concrete solution to minimize the wide spread nutritional deficiency. By plugging the critical gap in the millet value chain, namely the capability to process and distribute all forms of millets, Dinesh is not only making rainfed agriculture more profitable to farmers, but also making important “health saving” food available to consumers. He is building the foundation for a future in which millets can become the mainstay of the Indian agricultural economy.

To respond to the growing demand for millets and support local farmers, Dinesh is creating a network of entrepreneurs who can set up local processing units. He is catalyzing ‘small scale rural millet economies’ that are equipped to produce, process and distribute millets locally.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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