As per Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, India is a major producer of Millets, accounting for 80 per cent of Asia's production and 20 per cent of global production. It had been the major staple food in central India for centuries, but over the years, millets slowly got sidelined from the food basket.
Aim of the International Years of Millet -
According to Food and Agriculture Organisation the aim is to:
a. Elevate awareness about the contribution of millets for food security and nutrition
b. Inspire stakeholders on improving sustainable production and quality of millets
c. Draw focus for enhanced investment in research and development and extension services to achieve the other two aims
The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare took the following preparatory steps to mark 2023 as the year of Millets:
- Core committee has been formed
- Consultation on how to promote millets production and supply in the country has been held with different States, Processors, Chefs/ Nutritionists, Farmers
- Indian Institute of Millet Research (IIMR) has been made a Nodal Institute for keeping track of all the policies, activities and communication
- 6 Task forces have been constituted to ensure on ground implementation
Talking about the benefits of including Millets in your diet, Dr. Raj Bhandari Member National Technical Board of Nutrition and Health, NITI Aayog said, 'Positioning of millets in the form of value added minimally processed products will pave way for Swasth Bharat. The positive attributes of this power packed nutri-cereals will also keep at bay, silent killers like diabetes and hypertension.'
Highlighting the environmental aspect Joanna Kane-Potaka, Executive Director, International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) said, 'You may have heard of superfoods; foods that are super nutritious. Millets are this and more, they are basically smart food that is good for you, good for the farmer and good for the planet.
Reiterating the importance of Millets - the super grain, Dr Dayakar Rao of Indian Institute of Millet Research, Hyderabad said, 'Millets can grow in poor quality soil and create a good plan B for food security. With the growing population and the climate change scenario food security may become an issue in the future.'
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