Govt working on increasing millet production and consumption-Tomar
Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said on Friday that the government is working to increase millet production and consumption. He was speaking after launching the ‘Millets Experience Centre (MEC)‘ in the national capital’s Dilli Haat, INA.
This center was established by the cooperative NAFED in collaboration with the agriculture ministry to raise awareness about the benefits of millet and encourage its adoption among the general public.
The event was attended by Agriculture Secretary Manoj Ahuja and Nafed MD Rajbir Singh. Also Read | Telangana to host Food Conclave-2023 featuring five revolutions
‘We are making efforts to increase miller production, yield, processing, and consumption in the country,’ Tomar said.
The minister emphasized that millet has numerous health benefits because it is nutritious. Millets, according to Tomar, are climate resilient and can be grown with less water and fewer fertilizers and pesticides.
He claims that increased millet production will increase farmer income, particularly for small and marginal farmers. Tomar observed that a large number of startups are doing commendable work in the millet field.
He bemoaned the fact that the importance of millet on a plate of food had dwindled over time.
In response to India’s proposal, which was supported by 72 nations, the United Nations General Assembly declared 2023 to be the International Year of Millets (IYM 2023). The declaration put India at the forefront of the festivities.
The government has been in’mission mode’ to promote millet as a crop that benefits farmers, the environment, and consumers.
Tomar emphasized that the year-long millets (Shree Anna) celebrations will include a variety of activities aimed at raising awareness about the environmental, health, and economic benefits of millet farming.
The ministry-led initiative to establish a consumer-oriented ‘Millets Experience Centre’ would not only promote the dietary benefits of the ancient grain, but would also popularize millets or Shree Anna as a nutritional powerhouse suitable for cooking a variety of dishes such as Millets dosa, Millets pasta, and so on.
Customers can purchase a variety of ready-to-eat and ready-to-cook products from local millet startups at the experience centre, in addition to a unique dining experience.
Ahuja emphasized government-led initiatives to mainstream millets.
In discussing the collaboration between NAFED and the ministry, he stated that ventures such as the Millets Experience Centre would help broaden the horizon for consumers who are actively looking for healthier alternatives, as well as bring visibility to India’s thriving millet-based startup community.
According to Nafed MD Rajbir Singh, the center is a one-of-a-kind concept that will aid in the recognition of millets (Shree Anna) as a versatile and healthy grain.
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He went on to say that this center will provide customers with an extensive Millet menu as well as a ‘in-store’ shopping experience featuring a wide variety of millet-based products developed by homegrown startups – all under one roof.
Singh also stated that the millets-based products will help to promote healthy snacking among customers, encouraging them to adopt healthier millets-centric diets.
India produces over 170,000 tonnes of millet. Some of the major millets are Jowar, Bajra, Ragi, Sawan, Kangni, Cheena, Kodo, Kutki, and Kuttu.