In order to promote and strengthen the value chain for millets and millet food products, including the ready-to-eat category, Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI), Government of India is running a Production Linked Scheme (PLI), stated Minister of State in MoFPI, Prahlad Singh Patel, during speaking at the national conference on Millets: The Future Super Food for India, organised by the ASSOCHAM in New Delhi. To enhance India’s nutritional outcomes, millets must become more widely consumed, the minister added.
The production of millets climbed from 14.52 million tonnes in 2015–16 to 17.96 million tonnes in 2020–21, the minister told the conference. “During the same time period, bajra (pearl millet) production rose from 8.07 million tonnes to 10.86 million tonnes.”
Speaking on the characteristic that distinguishes millets from other grains, Patel remarked, “Millets have a relatively short growth season, and can mature from seeds to crops suitable for harvest in only 65 days or so. In the areas of the world with dense populations, this property of millets is crucial. The shelf-life of millets is at least two years when the grain is stored properly.”
Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Telangana are some of the major millets-producing states in India. “The Government has already updated the guidelines to enable the transportation of the surplus output of millets to other states,” the Minister of State for Food Processing Industries continued. “To meet the advance demand put forth by consuming states prior to the start of procurement, the Food Corporation of India (FCI) has been designated to provide interstate transportation of surplus millets.
India is currently the world’s fifth-largest exporter of millets, Minhaj Alam, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Food Processing Industries, discussed during his speech at the conference. According to him, 2023 will be the International Year of Millets which will generate value and promote sustainable products in food choices. He continued by saying that further investments are needed in millets’ production and processing.
In his speech at the conference, Vivek Chandra, Chairman, Food Processing and Value Addition Council, ASSOCHAM and CEO – Global Branded Business, LT Foods, stated that the nation needs a millet revolution. In the long run, he continued, “millets as a crop and commodity will be advantageous for all the stakeholders, environmental and sustainability prospects.”
Millets have long been a part of India’s history and culture, according to Bhupesh Chaudhary, Special Commissioner of Industries, Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi. In order to fight against hidden hunger, he added, “Millets must be brought back, and supply chain plays a vital part in doing so.”
Addressing the conference, Ramsinh Rathwa, Chairman of the Tribal Co-Operative Marketing Development Federation of India (TRIFED), emphasised the significance of understanding the eating customs and cultures of tribal communities. He continued, “Millets had all kinds of nutrients that were vital for growth and health, so it’s important to take care of how tribal people live and what they eat in order to save their communities. Malnutrition, which is a problem in India, may be reduced with its aid.
The importance of situating millets in the larger ecosystem and what millets can provide for the country were discussed by Tarun Vij, Country Director India, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN). “It is crucial to make them accessible, appealing, and reasonably priced. All people need to have access to healthy food, not just the wealthy ones.
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