We welcomed a recent event to launch the International Year of Millets 2023 by United Nations and FAO at Rome on 6th Dec 2022. This was an exceptional move by the Government of India to recognise Millets across the world. It is heartening to see the idea getting traction with more than 70 countries supporting the IYOM2023. The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Govt of India has been proactively taking a lot of initiatives for the same and the FICCI Task Force on Millets thanks and congratulates the Government of India for this splendid achievement.
India is one of the leading producers of millet in the world- producing 80 per cent of Asia’s & 20 per cent of global production of Millet. As per a report by MAFW, Pearl Millet (Bajra), Sorghum & Finger Millet form 98 per cent of the total Millets production in India, with Pearl millet alone contributing to 60 per cent of the production share and 56 per cent of the area share. Therefore, there’s massive potential for farmers as well as consumers, and strengthening the millet value chain is key.
In this regard, FICCI’s Task Force aims to facilitate impactful partnerships to make the Indian millet value chain more remunerative to farmers, beneficial for consumers, efficient, and globally competitive. Millet promotion must be percolated to various states and districts with knowledge partnering and supportive technology. Established as a proven food source for its quality nutrition, Millets come from rainfed crops, use less water, and have a lower impact on the environment. This makes Millet a real superfood for consumers, growers, and the environment. As Millets are getting popular for their nutritional qualities, it’s attracting an increasing number of players in the food industry to bring these nutritional benefits to a larger consumer base in new areas through exciting and innovative products.
One of the critical aspects we need to focus on is creating a platform to bring all stakeholders in the value chain together. This platform will help us collaborate, understand the challenges, garner support, secure investment along with the latest technology, and overcome challenges through public and private sector efforts, to make Millets easily available and more popular in India and globally.
The International Year of Millets 2023 is a step in the right direction to promote diversity and the nutritional and ecological benefits of millets to consumers, producers, value chain actors, and decision-makers; thus, ultimately improving food sector linkages for a better, more nutritious future. So, let’s work towards our goals, celebrate The International year of Millets 2023, and strive to put “Millets on every plate”.
The author is Chairman, FICCI Task Force on Millets and Director Seeds, South Asia, Corteva Agriscience