Millets The humbled superfood of Indian diet

Jan 13: Union Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Shri Kailash Chaudhary today said that millet will soon become the staple diet of Indians due to its nutritional values.

Addressing the 9th International Chefs Conference-2023, organised by the Indian Federation of Culinary Associations at Hotel Ashok in Delhi, Shri Choudhary said, spearheaded by the Prime Minister, the International Year of Millets (IYM) 2023 proposal was accepted by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). The declaration has been instrumental for the Government of India to be at the forefront of celebrating the IYM. The PM of India, Shri Narendra Modi has also shared his vision to make IYM 2023 a ‘People’s Movement’ alongside positioning India as the ‘Global Hub for Millets’.

Shri Choudhary said, ‘Millets’ were among the first crops to be domesticated in India with several pieces of evidence of its consumption during the Indus valley civilization. Being grown in more than 130 countries at present, Millet is considered traditional food for more than half a billion people across Asia and Africa. In India, millets are primarily a Kharif crop, requiring less water and agricultural inputs than other similar staples. Millets are important by the virtue of their mammoth potential to generate livelihoods, increase farmers’ income and ensure food & nutritional security all over the world.

Shri Choudhary said, through a collaborative approach, the DA&FW urges everyone including the International Organizations, Academia, Hotels, Media, Indian Diaspora, Start-up communities, Civil Society, and all others in the Millets value chain to come forward and join hands to revive the forgotten glory of ‘Miracle Millets’ through the grand celebration of International Year of Millets – 2023.

In his address. Secretary, of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Shri Manoj Ahuja said that the popularization of millets in the country will lead to an increase in the incomes of small and Marginal farmers. Taking note of the high Agricultural growth over the past few years and its robust contribution to overall GDP, Shri Ahuja said, Government is ready to take all steps to make Agriculture Sector the most modern one through the adoption of new and emerging technologies.

Recognizing the enormous potential of Millets, which also aligns with several UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Government of India (GoI) has prioritized Millets. In April 2018, Millets were rebranded as “Nutri Cereals”, followed by the year 2018 being declared as the National Year of Millets, aiming at larger promotion and demand generation. The global millets market is projected to register a CAGR of 4.5% during the forecast period between 2021-2026.

On 6th December 2022, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, organized an opening ceremony for the International Year of Millets – 2023 in Rome, Italy. The event was attended by a delegation of senior government officials from India. Next in the series, prior to the year-long celebration of ‘International Year of Millets (IYM) 2023’, the Department of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare hosted a special ‘Millet Luncheon’ for the Members of the Parliament at the Parliament house.

Earlier, Mr Choudhary was part of the program to kick-start the Millets & Organics 2023 – International Trade Fair in Bengaluru in January this year.

The exhibition segment of the event was inaugurated by Shri. Basavaraj Bommai, Chief Minister, Government of Karnataka. Followed by the inaugural ceremony, Shri Pralhad Joshi, Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Coal & Mines, inaugurated the Karnataka Pavilion. Union Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Shri Kailash Choudhary also graced the event and inaugurated the B2B networking part.

Shri Kailash Choudhary, in his address, highlighted that the budget allocation towards farmers has increased 6 times under the leadership of Hon’ble PM Shri Narendra Modi. Additionally, he also said that the country is focused on developing 10,000 FPOs and aiding farmers in setting up sorting and grading units, along with the production of value-added products which are export ready. He emphasized that the consumption of millet is the solution to malnutrition, which will also benefit farmers to get a better livelihood and increased income.

This International Chefs Conference 2023 addressed a refreshed and renewed Hospitality sector on the way forward on ‘Co-creating Inclusive Local Organic Food Systems. The three-day ‘Chefs Exclusive’ event will feature varied and extensive Knowledge Sharing sessions, Workshops, Masterclasses, live cooking demonstrations and exhaustive Seminars that will herald a New Future for the Hospitality Sector, as we all come to terms with a new World.

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