India going all out to showcase its ‘millets’ during ‘International Year of Millets’




New Delhi [India], February 11 (ANI): During the ‘International Year of Millets’, the Government of India has launched an initiative to promote millets, or nutritious cereals, to communicate its speciality and importance both in India and abroad, in the ‘International Year of Millets’.

The United Nations (UN) has declared this year as the ‘International Year of Millets’ on the initiative of India, which presided over a powerful group like the G20.

Notably, millet (Jowar, Bajra, Ragi) are the oldest food item known to mankind. Coarse cereals are the earliest crops that were cultivated in India. Much evidence has been found, that shows that millets were eaten during the Indus Valley Civilization.

Recognising the importance of coarse grains in providing nutritious food to the people and creating indigenous and global demand, the Government of India, on the initiative of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, played a leading role in declaring 2023 the International Year of Millets in the United Nations General Assembly.

India’s proposal was supported by 72 countries and in March 2021 itself, the United Nations declared the year 2023 as the International Year of Millets.

The Government of India has launched an initiative to promote millets or nutritious cereals, both in India and abroad, laying special focus on its flavour and its speciality. India’s goal is not only to export millet but also to reach out to the people and care for their health.

India came up with the idea at a time when the world is dealing with an epidemic like Covid. The Indian government is planning to spread it around the world. The government is making an effort to better serve nutritious food cereals from India at all events hosted by all agencies and embassies. Its speciality should be communicated to the public; this process will continue throughout the year.

India, which is chairing the G-20, will also serve at least one millet-based dish at all of its events. During the initial meeting, many millets dishes were kept on the main course menu in front of the guests.

Globally, there is a growing preference for coarse cereals. When a foreign guest or a head of state has visited India in the past, PM Modi has tried to offer dishes made from our coarse cereals. These dishes are also popular among visitors from other countries. Millets accounted for approximately 40 per cent of all crop cereals prior to India’s Green Revolution but fell to approximately 20 per cent in the years that followed.

Commercial crops such as pulses, oilseeds and maize encroached on previously cultivated land. Commercial crops are profitable, and their production is aided by a variety of policies, including subsidies, government procurement and inclusion in the public distribution system. Despite this, with the change in eating habits, calorie-rich fine cereals began to take precedence on the plate. Millets are not new to the country.

The Indian government recognised the importance of millet in achieving nutritional security in the country and made several efforts in this direction. It included the recognition of millets as nutritious cereals, the National Year of Millets in 2018 and the proposal at the United Nations General Assembly to celebrate the International Year of Millets, as well as a variety of other small-scale policies. Millets are widely regarded as ancient grain.

It has a longer history than the more modern cereals we consume. Millets were discovered in the Indus Valley Civilization, according to some artefacts recovered from the Indus Valley Civilization, and India is the world’s largest producer.

India produces approximately 1.80 crore metric tonnes of millet, accounting for approximately 20 per cent of global production. More than 80 per cent of the millets produced in Asia are produced in India. Around 130 of the world’s 200 countries produce nutritious cereals in some form or another.

Also, India produces nine different types of nutritious cereals. There are also nutritional security solutions in food processing. Coarse cereals and millets, for example, have high nutritional values. They are also resistant to challenging agro-climatic conditions. They are also referred to as ‘nutrition-rich and climate-resilient crops.

Coarse cereals are considered more nutritious than fine cereals. They are much better for our health than the cereals we currently consume. Besides, the farmers who grow it are small and work in unirrigated areas. It is also known as "organic farming" because the use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides is minimal. It is now acknowledged as a superfood.

The emphasis is on increasing demand so that farmers can get better prices. Millets are a type of alternative food that can help meet the increasing demand for vegetarian foods. Millets contribute to both a healthy diet and a safe environment.

Indian millets are a group of nutrient-dense, drought-tolerant crops that are primarily grown in India’s arid and semi-arid regions. It is a small-seeded grass in the Poaceae botanical family. Indian millets are high in protein, vitamins, and minerals. They are also gluten-free and have a low glycemic index, so they are a great option for people with celiac disease or diabetes.

The pandemic has highlighted the need to supplement the income of small and marginal farmers, and millet can be one of the best options for doing so. Millet is a climate-resilient crop that can be grown with little water, with low carbon emissions and even in drought conditions.

The International Year of Millets will raise awareness of millets’ contribution to food security and nutrition, as well as motivate stakeholders to maintain and improve millet production. At the same time, it will draw attention and encourage investment in research and development. (ANI)

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