Government plans to hold several programmes in the country and abroad for popularizing Millets and other nutri-cereals. Besides, all Ministries/Departments of the Government of India, along with the State Governments, will promote the nutri-cereals in coordination with the Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare (DA&FW) and Department of Agricultural Research and Education (DARE). This was stated by the Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Shri Narendra Singh Tomar, while chairing the meeting of Parliamentary Consultative Committee of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare on the subject ‘International Year of Millets’.
At the initiative of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, the Government of India had proposed to the United Nations for declaring 2023 as International Year of Millets (IYoM). The proposal of India was supported by 72 countries and United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) declared 2023 as International Year of Millets (IYOM) in March, 2021.
Addressing the meeting, Shri Tomar said the Government of India has planned activities for grand celebrations of IYoM- 2023. The action plan of IYOM-2023 focuses on strategies to enhance production, consumption, export, branding etc. The Government has also launched PLI scheme for promotion of Millets, he said.
As part of the Prime Minister’s announcement of Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan, the Government, on 31st March, 2021, approved a Central Sector Scheme, namely “Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme for Food Processing Industry” with an outlay of INR 10,900 crores to be implemented for a period of seven years from 2021-2022 to 2026-27.
The primary objectives of this scheme include support to creation of global food manufacturing champions and support Indian brands of food products in the international markets. Specific food product segments having high growth potential have been identified for providing support under the scheme. These include ready to cook/ready to eat (RTC/ RTE) foods including millet based products.
Shri Tomar said a Committee of Secretaries under the Chairmanship of Cabinet Secretary and a Core Committee chaired by Secretary, DA&FW and Secretary, DARE has been constituted to oversee the programmes and policies on popularizing Nutri-Cereals.
The Government has evolved the ‘Seven Sutras’ (themes) in the run-up to the IYOM, which will be rolled out by the concerned Ministry/Departments, – Enhancement of Production/Productivity (DA&FW/DARE), Nutrition & Health benefits (Ministry of Health/FSSAI), Value Addition, Processing & Recipe Development (Ministries of Food Processing Industries & Tourism), Entrepreneurship/Startup/Collective Development (Commerce and DA&FW), Awareness creation including Branding Labelling & Promotion (All Ministries), International Outreach (Commerce & Ministry of External Affairs) and Policy Interventions for Mainstreaming (Dept of Food & Public Distribution and DA&FW).
Millets are a rich source of Protein, Fibre, Minerals, Iron, Calcium and have a low glycemic index. India is a major producer of Millets, accounting for 80% of Asia’s production and 20% of global production. India’s average yield of Millets (1239 kg/hectare) is also higher than Global average yield of 1229 kg/haq. Major Millets crops grown in India and their percentage share of production are Pearl Millet (Bajra) – 61% share, Jowar (Sorghum) – 27%, and Finger Millet (Mandua/Ragi) – 10%.
The Government has taken several steps for promotion of Millets. To create domestic and global demand and to provide nutritional food to the people, The National Year of Millets was celebrated in 2018. In view of the nutritional value of the millets, the Government also notified Millets as nutri-cereals in April, 2018 and Millets were included under the POSHAN Mission Abhiyan. Over 500 Startups are working in Millet value chain while the Indian Institute on Millet Research, has incubated 250 Startups under RKVY-RAFTAAR. More than Rs.6.2 crores has been disbursed to over 66 Startups while about 25 Startups have been approved for further funding.
Today’s Meeting of the Consultative Committee was attended by the Ministers of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Sushri Shobha Karandlaje and Shri Kailash Choudhary. Members of Parliament who attended the meeting were Shri Asit Kumar Mal, Shri Bellana Chandrasekar, Smt. Jaskaur Meena, Shri Pradeep Kumar Chaudhary, Smt. Rama Devi, Secretary, DA&FW, Shri Manoj Ahuja, Shri S. Ramalingam, Shri Shrinivas Dadasaheb Patil and Shri Ram Shakal. Secretary, DARE and Director General of ICAR, Dr. Trilochan Mohapatra and Senior Officers of the Ministry and ICAR also participated in the deliberations.