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International Year of Millets:
Since 21st June 2015, the International Year of Yoga is celebrated annually across the world. India took Yoga internationally and in the same way, 2023 has been declared the International Year of Millets. That happened when 72 other countries supported the proposal of India to the United Nations. It is a proud moment for India and at the same time a huge responsibility to take the lead.
Importance of Millets:
In the year 2018, the Government of India celebrated the National Year of Millets, and in the same year, the coarse cereals-Millets notified as Nutri-Cereals due to their high nutritional value. The importance of millets was much more felt during and after the COVID-19 pandemic as these grains contain a high density of nutrients including minerals, vitamins, and dietary fiber.
I think this video can give you information on the importance of millets in a better way. I took the opportunity to participate in ”Inviting Documentary Films on the Importance of Millets” on the MyGov platform by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.
Aim of the International Year of Millets:
The aim of celebrating 2023 as the International Year of Millets is more focused and definitely addresses the important issue that too in the right time. I will say it is an alarming situation where the diversity of millets has lost from 20% of the total food grain basket to 6% and this is dominated by wheat and rice. Right time, and right aims according to Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
- Elevate awareness of the contribution of millet to food security and nutrition.
- Inspire stakeholders on improving sustainable production and quality of millets.
- Draw focus on enhanced investment in research and development and extension services to achieve the other two aims.
Do you think the aims that have been put forth are being rightly carried out??
As per my thought, India is moving in the right direction by taking lots of initiatives. Recently our Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his ”Mann ki Baat” radio program highlighted the benefits of millets.
“Millets are beneficial for the farmers and especially the small and marginal farmers. Millet crops do not require much water and get matured in a very short period. Millets contain plenty of protein, fiber, and minerals. Many people even call it a superfood. Along with reducing obesity, they also reduce the risk of diabetes, hypertension, and heart-related diseases. Millets are also very beneficial in fighting malnutrition since they are packed with energy as well as protein.” This message has reached millions of people and created mass awareness of the importance of millet.
Initiatives for the International Year of Millets:
The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has launched many initiatives in the run-up to the International Year of Millets to create awareness among the people in India. Ministry of Agriculture is the nodal agency and the Indian Institute of Millets Research has been made the nodal institute for the celebration of the International Year of Millets. India is taking the lead in popularizing the theme in a strong manner at the international level through various campaigns. Let us give it a glance.
Mighty Millets Quiz:
10 questions in 300 seconds. The questions are based on millets and their benefits. The best thing is that participants from all over the world and of all nationalities are eligible to participate in the quiz. The day the quiz came in front of me, I immediately jumped to take the quiz. Answered all the questions wholeheartedly and was happy to receive the certificate. If you have not participated, you can enter this quiz just now. PLAY QUIZ.
India’s Wealth, Millets for Health -Comic Story Contest:
The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare along with MyGov launched the contest for citizens to share their creativity by designing a comic story to showcase millet benefits and raise awareness among the masses. Selected entries will be amplified on social media and 100 selected winners will get certificates. The last date of submission is 5th November 2022. This contest is open to the entire world.
Mapping and Exchange of the Good Practices (MEGP) for Millets Mainstreaming in Asia and Africa:
On 19th July 2022, NITI Aayog and World Food Program have taken initiative for Millets mainstreaming in Asia and Africa. In this context, a compendium of good practices will be prepared for scaling up the production and consumption of millets.
It’s a nice initiative by NITI Aayog and World Food Program and hoping that organizations and practitioners from government or non-government organizations, multilateral
or FPOs/SHGs/PACS/Cooperatives and private sector/startups will participate wholeheartedly
with a case story of the intervention that has been conceptualized and implemented in some
geography in Asian & African countries. To know more about this initiative you can visit my previous blog. Click Here
Millet Startup Innovation Challenge:
This Innovation Challenge has been launched on 10th September 2022 to encourage young minds by nurturing their creative thinking and innovative strategies in the millet sector to address the concerns and create new techniques to position millets as alternative staples across the world. The startups, researchers, and students providing technological/business solutions in the following areas are eligible to participate.
- Improvement in dehulling efficiency and separation.
- Improvement of shelf life of the millet-based product.
- Innovative millet-based products- Innovative packaging.
- Application of AI, ML, and blockchain in Millet business.
I think, in today’s millet sector scenario, the above are the important areas where most of the Millet Startups are facing problems. If proper solutions are bought forward, it will open up opportunities for many entrepreneurs and I am sure huge investments will be coming in the future.
If you are someone having the solutions can definitely take up the Innovation Challenge.
Funds for R&D of Millet Incubation Centre:
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced providing Rs.25 crores under the NABARD’s rural infrastructure development fund to the University of Agricultural Science (UAS), Raichur, Karnataka for the establishment of an incubation center for processing and value addition for the promotion of millets.
Interactive Session with Millet Start-ups and Entrepreneurs under International Year of Millets:
On 1st September 2022, a meeting was held under the chairmanship of Secretary, Department of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, MoA & FW at Krishi Bhawan, New Delhi with Millet Startups and Entrepreneurs. Important issues of the Millet Sector and challenges faced by Startups were discussed briefly and action points were formulated.
- Meetings with embassies of relevant countries in India for promoting millets.
- Supporting startups to travel to International events and countries’ embassies.
- Work with the trading arm of embassies for millet exports and standardization.
- Millet park on a PPP mode.
- Funding for running a millet-based experience center.
- Placement of millet products in big retail stores and e-commerce platforms.
- Establishing Labs in agricultural colleges.
National Nutri Cereals Convention 4.0 :
The national Nutri cereal convention 4.0 is going to be held on 23-24, September 2022 at HICC, Kondapur, Hyderabad. It is the largest convention bringing multi-stakeholders under one roof. It is a flagship event of ICAR-IIMR conducted by Nutrihub every year in Hyderabad, Telangana. The objective of the convention is to bring together all the stakeholders from Nutri Cereals Industry, from producers to processors to consumers, as well as academicians, researchers, and policymakers. If you want to join this mega event, you can do the Registration.
Hope the events, campaigns, and investments in the Millet sector will increase awareness among the masses and bring a remarkable change in the millet ecosystem by involving different stakeholders.
Author: Tapas Chandra Roy, A Certified Farm Advisor on Millets, ‘Promoting Millets from Farm to Plate’. In a mission to take the forgotten grains- Millets to Millions. To remain updated on my blogs on Millets please subscribe to my newsletter and join my Telegram Channel – Millet Advisor for any queries please feel free to write at [email protected]