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

  • Category
    Economy
  • Published
    6th Jul, 2022

Context

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

What are 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. 
  • It is grown in 131 countries. Millets traditional food for 59 crore people in Asia & Africa.
  • Millets are a rich source of protein, fibre, minerals, iron, calcium and have a low glycemic index. 
  • They are grown as grain crops, primarily on marginal land in dry areas of temperate, sub-tropical and tropical regions.

Background

Millets production in India

  • Millets are grown in about 21 states in the country including Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Telangana, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, and Haryana.
  • India is now the 5th largest exporter of millets globally.
    • Nearly 41% of total global production was met by India in 2020. In 2020-21, it exported millets worth US $26.97 million. 


Importance

  • Resistance: 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.
  • Fibrous: Millet is fibrous in content, has magnesium, Niacin (Vitamin B3), is gluten-free and has highprotein 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.

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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