Pre-Launch of International Year of Millets 2023 Held in India

Pre-Launch of International Year of Millets 2023 Held in India

November 29, 2022 - 6:34 am

 Pre-Launch Of International Year Of Millets 2023

The UNGA selected 2023 as the International Year of Millets last year as a result of a New Delhi effort, and India has announced the start of preparations. Millets are a rich source of protein, fiber, minerals, iron, and calcium and have a low glycemic index; as a result of their nutritional value, millets have already been designated as nutri-cereals in India. The Indian government has established three Centers of Excellence and is working to promote nutri-cereals by providing funding for research and development (CoE).

Millet As a “Superfood”

India accounts for about 20% of the global output. Another 25% is made up of countries in Africa, including those in Niger, Nigeria, Mali, Sudan, Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Senegal, and Chad. Like everything else, China has improved recently and now produces approximately one-fourth as much as India. You can be sure that China will step it up, especially after the west has given it the seal of approval as a "superfood" that It will export its industrial-grade produce to the developing world while importing from it.

Cause of Decrease in Millet 

Over the past 4-5 decades, India's production of these "nutri cereals''—jowar, bajra, and ragi—as well as smaller millets like kodo, kutki, kakun, sanwa, cheena, and kuttu—has decreased from 23-24 million to 19-20 million tonnes. The cause is that neither consumers or producers prioritise millets. Wheat flour makes it more simpler to knead dough and roll out rotis than millet flour does. Gluten proteins found in wheat give dough its increased cohesiveness and elasticity. Instead of the gluten-free millets, the resulting breads are soft. Even the rural poor, for whom rice and wheat were once aspirational commodities, now have access to them thanks to the public distribution system (PDS). The millets are important crops for farmers as well. They will move over to growing wheat and rice, which yield three to four times more than jowar or bajra, as soon as they have access to irrigation.

Advantages of Millets

Given the nutritional advantages of millets over wheat and rice—whether in terms of amino acid profile or vitamins, minerals, and crude fibre content—the production of millets merits a special push. Due to their shorter growing seasons (70–100 days compared to 120–150 days for paddy and wheat) and reduced water requirements, they are also more drought-resistant crops (350-500 mm versus 600-1,200 mm). The best course of action would be to encourage their cultivation in those hilly, semi-arid areas with rainwater availability. Bajra and ragi cannot be expected to be grown by farmers in coastal Andhra Pradesh or Punjab due to the significant yield losses and lost opportunity costs. Encouraging farmers who are already growing bajra, ragi, and other minor millets in western Rajasthan, southern Karnataka, or eastern Madhya Pradesh to continue growing those crops rather than switching to rice and wheat is a more practical strategy. These districts/regions can then be developed as clusters for certain millets, such as Kodo and Kutki in Dindori, MP. Elections for the state Assembly will take place in millet-growing states like Rajasthan and Karnataka in 2019. The government may be able to use the celebrations' activities to connect with the farming community.

Transformation of The International Year of Millets

India, the largest millet grower in the world, has used its embassies to promote the grain in various nations. By promoting knowledge of millets' benefits for health, farmers, and the environment, the government is now attempting to transform the International Year of Millets into a people's movement. India positioned itself as the leader of this group by putting forth the resolution to recognise 2023 as the International Year of Millets. The Indian initiative for the 121-nation International Solar Alliance is comparable to this.