Millets in the Agriculture Budget 2022:
India taking the lead role in the upcoming celebration of the International year of Millets-2023. The United Nations General Assembly unanimously approved a resolution proposed by India and backed by more than 70 countries. It will help to ensure food security, nutrition, farmer livelihoods and incomes, poverty eradication, and especially address climate change.
Governments, NGOs, Entrepreneurs, farmers, and every stakeholder are gearing up for the grand celebration. Today, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the Union Budget 2022 and gave special attention to Millets. This big announcement has given a boost to every stakeholder, especially the Millet Entrepreneurs.
The 3 main focuses of the announcement on Millets were:
- Centre will support Post Harvest Value Addition
- Increasing the domestic consumption of Millets
- Branding of Millet products nationally and internationally.
Role of Millets in the present Agriculture Context:
As you know Millets are the small-seeded ancient grains that were cultivated 7000 years back. Millets are connected with the culture of small and marginal farmers of India. It’s now recognized as the Nutri-Cereals. Millets can grow on low fertile soil demanding fewer inputs and have the capacity to grow under drought conditions and the specialty is that it is resilient to climate change. We can say, Millets are the future crop.
Millets in the Agriculture Budget 2022 – Post Harvest Value Addition in Millets
Post Harvest Value addition in Millets is the need of the hour. Let us look at why Value addition in Millets is required:
- To meet the taste/preferences of the consumers.
- Reducing the post-harvest losses.
- Nutrient enhancement.
- Ready to eat (RTE), ready to Cook (RTC) – Reduces the cooking time.
- Enhance shelf life and make the product available for a long time.
- Diversified Millet products can solve our food needs as climate changes.
- Improve the consumption of millet products and can help to overcome malnutrition.
- Millet farmers will have more post-harvest technologies thus enhance the economic value of millet as well as improve the status of farmers.
Millets in the Agriculture Budget 2022 – Increasing the domestic Consumption of Millets
As we know millets are rich in protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals and have the potential to address nutritional security in the country. A recent meta-analysis of millets has given us enough evidence that it is good for people suffering from diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and also good for the growth of children.
Few states like Odisha, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Chattisgarh, and Jharkhand have taken initiative in promoting and increasing the consumption of millets. Odisha Millet Mission has included millets in the ICDS program and Public Distribution System and thereby ensuring domestic consumption of millets in the rural areas. This year Odisha has set a target of procuring 4 lakh quintals of Ragi directly from the farmers involving FPOs and the WSHG Federation.
The millet farmers of Odisha were very happy as they were getting good prices for their produce. They were given the minimum support price for Ragi @ Rs.33.77/kg.
Millets in the Agriculture Budget 2022 – Branding of Millets
India is the largest producer of millets in the world and its demand in the international market is huge. As you know there is a demand for gluten-free food in the US market. The gluten-free trend is increasing around the world. So, we need to brand our Millets nationally and internationally.
The Indian Institute of Millets Research, Hyderabad a premier institute in India plays a major role in promoting and branding millets. The Nutrihub helps millet startups by providing the required technologies and business support systems. In 2021 Nutri – Cereals Multi-stakeholders Mega Convention was conducted by Nutrihub-TBISC at Hyderabad, Telangana where all the stakeholders from the Nutri-cereals industry, from producers to processors to consumers as well as researchers, academicians, and policymakers who are working across the value chain of millets participated in the mega event.
Millets in the Agriculture Budget 2022 will definitely boost the momentum of every stakeholder and hope this big announcement will bring happiness and prosperity to the life of the millet farmers in India.
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 you can join my Telegram Channel – Millet Advisor and can write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org