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National Conference on Millets on the theme ‘The Future Super Food for India'

  • Published
    24th Jun, 2022
Context

ASSOCHAM organized a “National Conference on Millets: The Future Super Food for India” recently.

About

Millets:

In India, millets have been mentioned in some of the oldest Yajurveda texts, thus indicating that millet consumption was very common, pre-dating to the Indian Bronze Age (4,500BC).

  • Millets are a group of highly variable small-seeded grasses, widely grown around the world as cereal crops or grains for human food and as fodder. 
  • Millets have come to be looked down upon by modern urban consumers as “coarse grains”.
  • Before Green Revolution, millets made up around 40 percent of all cultivated grains(contributing more than wheat and rice).
  • However, since the revolution, the production of rice has increased doubly and wheat production has tripled.
  • Millets are often referred to as Superfood and its production can be seen as an approach for sustainable agriculture and a healthy world.
  • It is grown in 131 countries. Millets traditional food for 59 crore people in Asia & Africa.
  • Millets are collective group of small seeded annual grasses that are grown as grain crops, primarily on marginal land in dry areas of temperate, sub-tropical and tropical regions.



Importance:

  • Due to its high resistance against harsh conditions, millets are sustainable to the environment, to the farmer growing it, and provide cheap and high nutrient options for all.
  • Nearly 40 percent of the food produced in India is wasted every year.
  • Millets do not get destroyed easily, and some of the millets are good for consumption even after 10-12 years of growing, thus providing food security, and playing an important role in keeping a check on food wastage.
  • Millet is fibrous in content, has magnesium, Niacin (Vitamin B3), is gluten-free and has high protein content.
  • Anti-diabetes quality: Millets can also help tackle health challenges such as obesity, diabetes and lifestyle problems as they are gluten free, have a low glycemic index and are high in dietary fibre and antioxidants.
  • Millet ingestion helps in a slower release of glucose over a longer period of time; thus, due to low glycaemic index (GI), their habitual intake reduces the risk of diabetes mellitus.
  • More sustainable: Besides, millets help in reducing the atmospheric CO2 and thus contribute in mitigating the climate change.
  • On the contrary, paddy is a major contributor to climate change through methane emission (the green-house gas emanating from water-drenched rice fields).

Steps taken for promoting millets since 2018:

  • National Year for Millets 2018
  • “Sub Mission on Millets” under National Food Security Mission since 2018.
  • Several State launched mission on Millets.
  • Millets included under POSHAN MISSION Abhiyan by Ministry of Women & Child Development.
  • ICAR released one variety Quinoa (Him Shakti).
    • Quinoa – A new crop: ICAR has been referred to suggest for declaring Nutri-cereals.
  • 200 Start-ups supported through IIMR, Hyderabad.
  • 67 Value added Technologies developed at Centre of Excellences.
  • Export of Millets increased from $ 24 million (2017) to $ 26 million (2020).
  • Release of 13 High Yielding varieties including 4 bio-fortified varieties of millets.

International Year of Millets (IYoM)-2023:

  • Government of India had proposed to United Nations for declaring 2023 as International Year of Millets (IYOM).
  • The proposal of India was supported by 72 countries and United Nation’s General Assembly (UNGA) declared 2023 as International Year of Millets in March, 2021.
  • Now, Government of India has decided to celebrate IYOM, 2023 to make it peoples’ movement so that the Indian millets, recipes, value added products are accepted globally.
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