Global Millets (Shree Anna) Conference: India’s role in ensuring global food security is going to be very important in the future. India has so much potential that it can lead the world in this field. India has taken one more step in this direction and that step is the global campaign regarding coarse grains.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the two-day Global Millets (Shri Anna) Conference in New Delhi on 18 March (Saturday). On this occasion, PM Modi also said that coarse grains can help in dealing with the challenges of food security. Along with this, it can also help in dealing with challenges related to eating habits.
After India’s proposal and efforts, the United Nations has declared 2023 as the International Millet Year, and under this, a two-day global conference has been organized in Delhi. PM Modi called it a matter of honor for India. Scientists and experts working in the fields of agriculture, nutrition and health from different parts of the world, including agriculture ministers of many countries, have come to India to participate. Along with this, more than 75 lakh farmers of India also became a part of the virtual inauguration ceremony.
Coarse grain identified as ‘Shrianna’
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that when the world is celebrating ‘International Millet Year’, India is leading the campaign. This is a very happy occasion. He informed the people participating in the function that keeping in view the global branding, common branding of millets, a new name has been given to coarse grain Srianna in India. The Prime Minister described coarse grains as the door to the prosperity of the small farmers of the country. Along with this, it has also been termed as a big base of chemical free farming. Less water is required for coarse grain crops. Referring to these things, PM Modi said that coarse grains are also helpful in dealing with the problems of climate change.
Sales of millets food products increased by 30%
India is constantly trying to create a global movement for millets. Under this initiative, in 2018, millets were declared as nutri-cereals in India. Coarse grains are cultivated on a large scale in 12-13 states in the country. In the last 4 years, apart from making the farmers aware about these grains, continuous steps have also been taken to make them a market. As a result of this, domestic consumption of coarse grains has increased more than 5 times. Domestic consumption has increased from 2-3 kg per month per person to 14 kg per month today. The sale of food items made from coarse grains has also increased by about 30%. PM Modi informed that coarse grains have also been selected in 19 districts of the country under the ‘One District, One Product’ scheme.
Millets are a boon for small farmers
About 25 million small farmers are directly involved in the production of coarse grains in India. Prime Minister Narendra Modi says that ShriAnn Abhiyan is going to prove to be a boon for these small farmers of the country. With the expansion of the market for coarse grains, the income of the farmers will not only increase, but the rural economy will also get benefited. The Prime Minister informed that in the last few years, more than 500 startups working on millets have been formed. With the participation of self-help groups and women, products made from coarse grains have now reached the big malls and supermarkets in the city from the village. Due to this, a supply chain is being developed, in which the youth are also getting employment on a large scale.
Under coarse grains come grains like Jowar, Bajra, Ragi, Sama, Kangni, Cheena, Kodon, Kutki, Kuttu. Prime Minister Modi said that under the Millet Movement, India is moving forward with the spirit of world welfare. He also appealed to the rest of the countries of the world to participate actively in this campaign and create a stable mechanism for the development of coarse grains, so that the global market for coarse grains will be bigger in future. Along with this, the global supply chain should also be developed.
important for food security
Prime Minister Narendra Modi Mentioned two challenges related to food security. On one hand, people in poor countries do not have grains to eat, while in rich and developed countries, diseases related to food habits are a big problem. PM Modi says that the solution to both these problems lies in coarse grains. Because most millets are easy to grow, their cultivation costs are low and they are ready quickly as compared to other crops. Also, chemicals are not used in them. Coarse grains are also a solution to the problems related to global food security and also to the problem of food habits.
Increased contribution to the National Food Basket
At present, the contribution of coarse cereals in the national food basket is only 5 to 6 percent. To increase this figure, PM Modi appealed to the country’s scientists and agriculture experts to work fast and asked them to set a target for every year in this direction. He also appealed to more and more companies of the country to come forward to make millet products.
Other countries are also increasing cooperation with India
Many countries of the world consider India’s campaign related to millets to be very helpful from the point of view of achieving sustainable development goals. The President of Guyana, Dr. Mohammed Irfan Ali, has said through a video message that the first Global Millets Conference will play an important role in meeting the challenge of food insecurity facing the world. He informed that Guyana is starting cooperation with India for large scale production of millet by earmarking 200 acres of land for coarse grain production. In this, India will help Guyana in technology as well as in other needs. Guyana’s president promised all possible help in the production and promotion of millets in 17 Caribbean countries. This will help popularize millets in the Caribbean community. Similarly, Ethiopia’s President Sahle-Work Zewde believes that millets will go a long way in tackling the food security challenges not only of the sub-Saharan country Ethiopia but of the entire African continent.
Largest producer of coarse cereals
The thickest grain in the world is produced in India only. Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh are among the major millet growing states. India has produced 17.96 million metric tonnes of coarse cereals. Sorghum, Ragi, Bajra, Kuttu, Ramdana, Kangni, Kutki, Kodo, Cheena and Sama are cultivated here. The central government is promoting the production of coarse cereals under the National Food Security Mission. The aim of the central government is that India should become a global center in the matter of coarse grains and in this regard, a provision has been made in this budget also to promote the cultivation of coarse grains. Under this, it has been decided to promote Indian Millet Research Institute of Hyderabad as a center of excellence. It will share best practices, research and technology internationally to increase the yield of millets and increase their global market.
Huge potential for export of coarse grains
India has the potential to lead the world as a key player in the global supply chain of millets and food products made from millets. India is currently exporting coarse grains to 139 countries across the world. Along with that, the size of the global market for food products made from coarse grains in India is also increasing continuously. India’s export of coarse grains in 2021-22 was 64 million dollars. Its export is increasing rapidly. In the period April-December 2023, there has been an increase of 12.5% in the export of coarse cereals as compared to the same period last year. There has also been a rapid change in countries buying coarse grains from India. 10 years ago, America, Australia, Japan, Belgium were the major importers of coarse grains. Now they have been replaced by Nepal ($6.09 million), United Arab Emirates ($4.84 million) and Saudi Arabia ($3.84 million). Apart from these, coarse grains are also exported from India on a large scale to Libya, Tunisia, Morocco, Britain, Yemen, Oman and Algeria.
To broaden global access to millets, India has set an export target of $100 million by 2025. For this, the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry has prepared a concrete roadmap to expand the global basket. Millet grains under the leadership of India will solve the hunger and food crisis present in the world. Coarse grains are cultivated in more than 130 countries of the world. Millets are part of the traditional diet of about 600 million people in the continent of Asia and Africa.