Dr. Sharmila Oswal, popularly known as the “Millet Lady,” is a passionate advocate for sustainable agriculture and the promotion of millets, a group of highly nutritious grains that have been largely ignored in the modern food system. She is a microbiologist by training and has been working in the field of agriculture for more than two decades.

She has dedicated her life to promoting sustainable agriculture and the consumption of millets. Her efforts have not only improved public health but also contributed to the preservation of traditional farming practices and the conservation of natural resources. She is an inspiration to many and a true champion of sustainable food systems.

Dr. Oswal’s interest in millets began when she observed the alarming rise of lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, obesity, and heart disease in India, which she attributed to the shift towards highly processed and refined foods. She soon realized that millets, which are rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, could be the solution to the country’s growing health crisis.

In 2011, Dr. Oswal founded the NGO “Sahaja Samrudha,” which works to promote sustainable farming practices and the conservation of indigenous seed varieties. Through this organization, she began conducting workshops and training sessions for farmers to promote the cultivation of millets and other traditional crops. She also collaborated with chefs and food enthusiasts to develop new recipes using millets, in order to make them more appealing to the modern palate.

She has received numerous awards and accolades for her work, including the prestigious Nari Shakti Puraskar from the Government of India in 2019. She has also been recognized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for her contributions to sustainable agriculture.

One of Dr. Oswal’s most notable achievements is the establishment of the “Millet Network of India” (MINI), a coalition of farmers, scientists, and food enthusiasts working towards the promotion and conservation of millets. MINI has been instrumental in reviving the cultivation of millets in various parts of India and has played a key role in increasing the demand for these grains.

Dr. Oswal’s work has also had a significant impact on the environment. Millets are drought-resistant crops that require less water and fertilizer than other grains, making them a more sustainable option for farmers. By promoting the cultivation of millets, Dr. Oswal is not only improving public health but also contributing to the conservation of natural resources and the preservation of traditional farming practices.