New Delhi: 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 (November 24). Mr 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).
Also Read: Need Concentrated Global Push Of Millets Amid Challenges Of Covid, Conflict And Climate: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar
“Through this, our aim is to increase the domestic and global consumption of millets,” said Mr 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.
Mr 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.
Also Read: Opinion: Millets Can Help Fight Climatic Change And Nutritional Challenges
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. He said,
The time has come for the public distribution system to shift the focus of distribution programmes 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.
Considering the nutritional value of millets, Mr 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 is given to the farmers by the states.
Mr 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.
Also Read: Know Your Food: Dos And Don’ts Of Incorporating Millet In Your Diet
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. He said,
The government is providing support to start-up entrepreneurs for recipes and value-added products to promote consumption of millet.
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).
Mr Tomar said the NITI Aayog and the World Food Programme intend to identify and solve the challenges in a systematic and effective manner. He said,
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.
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.
Also Read: Health And Nutrition: Are Millets Good For You?
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 centres 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.
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 population, indigenous 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 (Water, Sanitation 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 pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual 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 diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.