International Year of Millets to provide opportunity to increase global production: Agriculture minister

The International Year of Millets (IYOM) 2023 will provide an opportunity for increasing global production, efficient processing and better use of crop rotation and promoting millets as a major component of the food basket, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said on Thursday. Tomar said that on the initiative of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the United Nations has declared the year 2023 as the International Year of Millet (IYOM).

“Through this, our aim is to increase the domestic and global consumption of millets,” said Tomar, addressing the High Commissioners/Ambassadors based in Delhi during the luncheon hosted jointly by the department of agriculture and farmers welfare and the ministry of external affairs as a pre-launch celebration of the IYOM23. While addressing the High Commissioners/ambassadors, Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar said, “Millets have increasing relevance in the world today in the backdrop of Covid, climate change, and conflicts.”

Jaishankar stressed that millets are important for food security as well as international relations. He said COVID was a period that reminded the world what a pandemic could do to food security. He said climate changes can lower production and disrupt trade. He suggested that in international relations, much greater attention ought to be given to food security. Agriculture Minister Tomar said the ministry of agriculture and farmers welfare is working in mission mode to increase millet production and consumption in collaboration with other central ministries, all state governments and other stakeholder organisations.

“The time has come for the public distribution system to shift the focus of distribution programs from basic calories to provide a more diverse food basket that includes millets to improve the nutritional status of pre-school children and women of reproductive age,” he said. Considering the nutritional value of millets, Tomar said the government of India had notified millet as a nutritious cereal in April 2018 and millet has also been included under the Poshan Mission campaign.

Under the National Food Security Mission (NFMS), a nutritious cereal component for millets is being implemented in 212 districts of 14 States. Apart from this, many types of assistance are given to the farmers by the states. Tomar said funding is also being done by the ministry of agriculture for supporting sustainable production, creating awareness for higher consumption, developing market and value chains and research-development activities.

The Union agriculture minister said more than 66 startups have been given more than Rs 6.25 crore, while 25 startups have been approved for further funding. “The government is providing support to start-up entrepreneurs for recipes and value-added products to promote consumption of millet,” he said. India has more than 500 startups working in the millet value-added chain, while the Indian Institute of Millets Research has incubated 250 startups under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana – Remunerative Approaches for Agriculture and Allied Sectors Rejuvenation (RKVY-Raftar).

Tomar said the NITI Aayog and the World Food Program intend to identify and solve the challenges in a systematic and effective manner. “The partnership will focus on mainstreaming millets and support India in taking the lead globally in knowledge exchange using the opportunities in the form of the International Year of Millets,” he said. In his address, agriculture and farmers welfare secretary Manoj Ahuja said the pandemic has brought an increased focus on the need to augment the income of small and marginal farmers and millet can be one of the best options for the same. He said climate-friendly crop millet can be grown with less water consumption, less carbon emission and even in drought.

Millet is a storehouse of micronutrients, vitamins and minerals. International Year of Millets will raise awareness about the contribution of millets for Food Security and Nutrition, motivate stakeholders for continuous production and quality improvement of millets and attract attention to increase investment in research and development services, according to the ministry of agriculture and farmers welfare. Asia and Africa are the major production and consumption centers of millet crops. India, Niger, Sudan and Nigeria are the major producer of millet.

Minister of State for External Affairs Meenakashi Lekhi, Secretary for Economic Relations Dammu Ravi, Ministry of External Affairs Secretary (West) Sanjay Verma and about 100 High Commissioners/Ambassadors based in Delhi and senior officials were present at the event. (ANI)

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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