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Ragi or Finger Millet, which is scientifically known as Eleusine coracana, belongs to the family Poaceae and sub family Chloridoideae. It is mainly grown in Asia and Africa.

It is an extremely nutritious millet seed like mustard seeds in appearance. Ragi is rich in calcium, protein, fibre, iron and amino acids. It does not contain gluten. This nutritionally rich plant has also medicinal properties.

Ragi helps in tissue repair, improves metabolic rate of body, cures migraines, lowers cholesterol levels. It prevents blocking of blood vessels, reduces the risk of hypertension and stroke. It also helps to lose weight. Ragi has low glycemic index; so it is a diabetic friendly grain. It also reduces cancer risk as it lots of fibre.

Ragi is traditionally used in various food products. Ragi is very common diet for infants and toddlers. The outer skin of Ragi can lead to indigestion and thus is removed before use.

The crop is native to the Ethiopian highlands and widely grown in Asia and African regions, mainly in rainy slopes region like East Africa and Tropical Asia.

Light, sandy and heavy clay soils are good for Ragi plants. It can grow in well-drained soil. It is also able to grow in soils that are saline, acidic, neutral, or alkaline. Ragi needs moist soils, but it cannot grow in shade.

Major Ragi producers are Uganda, Ethiopia, India, Nepal and China.

India is the largest cultivator of Ragi, which is primarily grown and consumed in the states of Karnataka, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Orissa, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. Karnataka is the top producer among these states.

Local trading hubs for Ragi in India are

Andhra Pradesh (Mahaboobnagar)

Karnataka (Bangalore, Chamarajanagar, Chikkamagaluru, Davanagere, Hassan, Kolar, Koppal, Mandya, Mysore, Shimoga, Tumkur)

Maharashtra (Raigad)

Odisha (Koraput, Rayagada)

Tamil Nadu (Cuddalore, Dharmapuri, Erode, Kanchipuram, Viluppuram).

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