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Promotion Of Millets: Impact On Indian Farmers, Economy & Health
The Indian Institute of Millet Research, Hyderabad will be supported as the centre of excellence for sharing best practices, research and technologies at the international level by Government
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The United Nations (UN) declared 2023 as the International Year of Millets following a proposal by India. Further, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her recent budget speech of 2023-24 termed Millets as 'Shree Anna' and said that to make India a global hub for 'Shree Anna'.
Interestingly, the Indian Institute of Millet Research, Hyderabad will be supported as the centre of excellence for sharing best practices, research and technologies at the international level.
On the government's emphasis to promote millet Amarnath Halember, Executive Director and CEO, NextG Apex India said, "The disturbing cases of malnutrition in the country and millet is an age-old food item that has gone missing recently. Grains like Jowar, Bajra, Ragi, and Kutki have great significance and are affordable. Given the fact that poverty is the leading cause of many issues in the country, such food items help fill in the void of nutritional value for many people."
Halember further said that the lack of nutritional food in India has created difficult situations like malnutrition and anaemia. Nine varieties of millets offer abundant nutritional security which is also sustainable and scalable. Millets don’t require much water and are indigenous to pests and diseases. Hence, these come with low maintenance and less investment in growing them.
Dr Deepak Birewar, Chairman & MD, Inventys Research said that the encouraging push provided by the government to make the Millet Institute in Hyderabad a centre of excellence provides the impetus for the growth of research and development in the country.
He further added that the government has also forecasted creation of a brand new programme to aid centres of excellence for pharmaceutical innovation and research, which will be critical in achieving sustainability and food security in the country.
Further on the steps that can be taken by government in achieving India's nutrition security through Millets Aneesh Jain, Founder, Gram Unnati said millets need to be incorporated as a part of PDS, Take-Home Ration under ICDS along with mid-day meals in schools. This will provide a stable market with price assurance for farmers and ensure that the beneficiaries have access to more nutritious food.
Rajesh Aggarwal, Managing Director, Insecticides (India) said "By conducting millet-centric activities including fairs and food festivals, training of farmers, workshops/ seminars, distribution of promotional material at various key locations in the state, etc. can help create more awareness.
Aggarwal further said that additionally, for exports of Indian millets’ promotion, the government will need to go for aggressive branding, identify potential buyers such as departmental stores, supermarkets and hypermarkets, and facilitate participation of exporters, farmers and traders in international trade expos and buyer seller meets (BSMs).