NEW DELHI: Taking lead in celebrating 2023 as ‘International Year of Millets’, India has planned to hold several programmes within the country and abroad to popularize millets. The government’s programmes will revolve around ‘seven sutras’ ( seven themes) including measures on how to promote these climate-resilient and less water consuming coarse cereals as a tool of sustainable agriculture.
Different ministries, including the ministry of external affairs, will be involved in popularizing millets which are a rich source of protein, fibre, minerals, iron, calcium and have a low glycemic index. India is a major producer of millets, accounting for 80% of Asia’s production and 20% of global production. India’s average yield of millets (1,239 kg/hectare) is also higher than the global average yield of 1,229 kg/ha.
“The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) had in 2021 declared 2023 as ‘International Year of Millets’ (IYOM-2023) at the initiative of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The proposal of India was supported by 72 countries. The Prime Minister subsequently had given responsibility to a group of ministers to promote millets,” said agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar.
“Nutritious grains (millets) should once again get a respectable place in our food plate,” said Tomar while addressing the nutritious food festival – Millets Culinary Carnival – at Dilli Haat on Saturday.
As part of ‘seven sutras’ in the run-up to the IYOM, the government’s programmes will deal with issues relating to enhancement of production/productivity; nutrition & health benefits; value addition; processing & recipe development; entrepreneurship development; international outreach and policy interventions for mainstreaming millets.
Major millet crops grown in India are Pearl Millet (Bajra), Jowar (Sorghum) and Finger Millet (Mandua/Ragi) with production share of 61%, 27% and 10%, respectively. The government had notified them as ‘nutri-cereals’ four years ago.
Tomar last Wednesday held a meeting of the parliamentary consultative committee of his ministry on millets where the participants, including MPs from both the houses of Parliament, discussed India’s plan for grand celebrations of IYoM- 2023.
“A committee of secretaries under the chairmanship of cabinet secretary and a core committee, chaired by secretaries in the agriculture ministry, have been constituted to oversee the programmes and policies on popularizing nutri-cereals. The action plan of IYOM-2023 focuses on strategies to enhance production, consumption, export, branding etc.,” said Tomar.