The UN-designated International Year of Millets 2023 has arrived early for India.
The United Nations-designated International Year of Millets 2023 has arrived early for India, with the Union Government, States, and other stakeholders getting a head start with a flurry of activity.
As part of the run-up, the Union government has organized a broad list of events in which schoolchildren, colleges, government institutes, communities, and start-ups will participate, promoting millets and raising awareness about the necessity of their intake.
Millets vending machines
‘In the coming weeks, start-up hackathons, quizzes, and other competitions for schoolchildren will be organized.’ Vending machines that sell millet goods would be installed throughout government offices, according to Shubha Thakur, Joint Secretary (Crops, Oilseeds, and Administration) of the Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.
Speaking at the National Nutri Cereal Convention 4.0 here on Friday, she said that improving the millet ecosystem in the country will require a coordinated effort involving central and state institutions.
While a slew of activities will get off well before January 1, the government plans to hold an event early next year to formally launch the year-long celebrations of the International Year of Millets 2023.
In his keynote speech, Ashok Dalwai, Chief Executive Officer of the Rainfed Area Authority (NRAA), stated that increasing the area of nutri-cereals (millets) incrementally would not assist. ‘To make an impact, we should aim for an area that accounts for at least one-third of the land under cereals,’ he said.
Despite the fact that the area under Nutri cereals has decreased in recent decades, he advocated a significant boost in production to make it economical.
Using the United States and Italy as examples, he stated that productivity in the United States was 4.2 tonnes per hectare, whereas it was 6.2 tonnes in Italy. ‘Compare this to 1.2 tonnes.’ While the productivity at the tests is 5 tonnes, farmers can only produce 1.2 tonnes,’ he explained.
The fourth edition of the conference had around 600 delegates. Several start-ups that have created products and services based on millet have set up shop.
Telangana Agriculture Minister Singireddy Niranjan Reddy has asked the Union Government to incorporate millets into the public distribution system (PDS) to stimulate demand and incentivize millet growers.