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International Year Of Millets 2023: India Leading The Way

India pushed for recognising the importance of millet and creating a domestic and global demand along with providing nutritious food to the community

International Year Of Millets 2023: India Leading The Way
UNGA declared 2023 as the International Year of Millets in March 2021

New Delhi: The government of India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi spearheaded the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolution for declaring the year 2023 as the International Year of Millets and the proposal of India was supported by 72 countries. UNGA declared 2023 as the International Year of Millets in March 2021. India pushed for recognising the importance of millet and creating a domestic and global demand along with providing nutritious food to the community.

Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer’s Welfare on Monday (December 26) put out a detailed explainer about millets, its benefits, history, and India’s policy intervention and initiatives to promote such nutrition-rich cereals.

Also Read: International Year Of Millets 2023: Vice President, PM Modi And Ministers Attend A ‘Millet Lunch’ In Parliament

What are millets?

Millet is a common term for categorising small-seeded grasses that are often called Nutri-cereals. Some of them are sorghum (jowar), pearl millet (bajra), finger millet (ragi), little millet (kutki), foxtail millet (kakun), proso millet (cheena), barnyard millet (sawa), and kodo millet (kodon).

An essential staple cereal crop for millions of smallholder dryland farmers across Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, millets offer nutrition, resilience, income and livelihood for farmers, and have multiple uses such as food, feed, fodder, biofuels and brewing.

Significance and benefits of millets:

Millets are nutritionally superior to wheat and rice owing to their higher protein levels and a more balanced amino acid profile. Millets also contain various phytochemicals which exert therapeutic properties owing to their anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties.

Further, besides being climate resilient, millet grains are rich sources of nutrients like carbohydrates, protein, dietary fibre, and good-quality fat; minerals like calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, manganese, zinc and B complex vitamins.

Most importantly, millet production is not dependent on the use of chemical fertilizers.

Also Read: Health And Nutrition: Are Millets Good For You?

Background of millets in India:

Millets were traditionally consumed, but due to the push given to food security through Green Revolution in the 1960s, millets were less consumed and almost forgotten.

Before the Green Revolution, millets made up around 40 per cent of all cultivated grains, which has dropped to around 20 per cent over the years.

Not only has the consumption of millets declined, but the area under production has been replaced with commercial crops, oilseeds, pulses and maize. These commercial crops are profitable, and their production is supported by several policies through subsidised inputs, incentivised procurement and inclusion in the Public Distribution System. This has resulted in changes in dietary patterns with preferential consumption towards fine-calorie-rich cereals.

India produces more than 170 lakh tonnes of millet, which is 80 per cent of Asia’s and 20 per cent of global production.

India produces all the nine commonly known millets and is the largest producer and fifth-largest exporter of millets in the world. Most of the states in India grow one or more millet crop species. Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana are the major millets producing states.

Also Read: Know Your Food: Dos And Don’ts Of Incorporating Millet In Your Diet

India’s millet trade:

India exported millets products worth of USD 34.32 million during 2021-22. In 2020- 21, India exported millets worth USD 26.97 million against USD 28.5 million in 2019-20.

India’s major millet exporting countries are UAE, Nepal, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Oman, Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, the UK and the US.

The major millet-importing countries in the world are Indonesia, Belgium, Japan, Germany, Mexico, Italy, the US, the UK, Brazil, and the Netherlands.

A look at the trend of MSP:

The Minimum Support Price for jowar, bajra, and ragi increased 73 per cent, 65 per cent, and 88 per cent to Rs 2,990, Rs 2,350, and Rs 3,578, respectively, data showed.

Also Read: 2023 – The International Year Of Millets: What It Means

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ populationindigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diarrhoea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.

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