NITI Aayog has signed an agreement with the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) to identify issues related to the inclusion of millets in government programs, with the goal of providing a more diverse food basket via its free food distribution scheme, with a aim on coarse grains and millets.
The Aayog and the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) signed a statement of intent on Tuesday, with the focus on mainstreaming millets and strengthening climate-resilient agriculture for improved food and nutrition security in India.
Several steps have been taken to promote millets, according to the statement, including the establishment of a center for excellence, the inclusion of Nutri-cereals in the National Food Security Act, and the establishment of Millet Missions in different states. ‘However, numerous issues in terms of production, distribution, and consumer adaptability remain,’ it said.
‘Under the distribution model, it is needs to switch the emphasis of food distribution programmes away from calorie fundamentalism and toward giving a more variety of food basket, such as coarse grains and millets, to achieve better nutritional intake of pre-school children and pregnant and nursing women,’ it said, adding that the Aayog and World Food Programme intend to identify and address these hurdles in a systematic and effective way.
In accordance with a United Nations General Assembly resolution, the government designated 2018 as the International Year of Millets in order to encourage and promote millet production in India, and 2023 as the International Year of Millets.
‘The partnership focuses on mainstreaming millets and assisting India in taking the lead in knowledge exchange globally. Furthermore, the partnership will aim to build resilient livelihoods for small-holder farmers, as well as adaptation capacities to climate change and the transformation of food systems,’ according to the statement.
Collaboration in four phases
First phase – The two parties will collaborate in four phases, beginning with the creation of a best practise compendium on millet mainstreaming and a scale-up strategy.
Second phase – They will support millet mainstreaming scale-up through knowledge sharing and intensive engagement with select states.
Third phase – They will leverage India’s expertise to support developing countries for millet mainstreaming.
Fourth phase – Work on building capacities for climate-resilient and adaptive livelihood practises.