International year of millets slotted for 2023, India thanks FAO for endorsing its demand

  • 08/10/2018

International year of millets slotted for 2023, India thanks India thanks FAO for endorsing its demand

Acting on India’s proposal, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations has agreed to celebrate ‘International Year of Millets’ in 2023 The Idea behind the move is to create awareness and inspire all stakeholders to work towards improving production and productivity of the climate-resilient and nutritious millets across the globe.

The Idea behind the move is to create awareness and inspire all stakeholders to work towards improving production and productivity of the climate-resilient and nutritious millets across the globe.

The decision was taken in the ongoing session of the FAO’s Committee on Agriculture in Rome on late Thursday evening. The Committee endorsed India’s proposal and decided to slot it for the year 2023.

“India’s prominence in agriculture diplomacy comes to the fore as the FAO Committee on Agriculture endorses India’s proposal to celebrate ‘International Year of Millets’ in 2023. I express my deepest gratitude to the FAO,” said Union agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh.

It’ll now be cleared by the FAO Council in December. Since the international years are observed by the UN, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) will finally adopt it before formal declaration. These are, however, the procedural formalities now.

“The committee on agriculture first discussed it with an option to slot it for 2026. But, Indian representative could convince the panel to place it early so that it can at least fall within the UN ‘Decade of Action on Nutrition 2016-2025’. So, it’s now slotted for 2023,” said an official who has been following the development.

India, which celebrates 2018 as ‘National Year of Millets’, had in April notified these cereals as ‘nutri-cereals’ and allowed its inclusion in the Public Distribution System (PDS) for improving nutritional support.

Recognising millets’ anti-diabetic properties, the notification called it a “powerhouse of nutrients” and identified several varieties of millets for promotion. The millets in the category of “Nutri-Cereals” include Sorghum (Jowar), Pearl Millet (Bajra), Finger Millet (Ragi), Foxtail Millet (Kangani/Kakun) and Buckwheat (Kuttu) among others.

Later in July, the government had substantially hiked the minimum support price (MSP) of millets so that more and more farmers may opt for cultivation of these less water consuming crops.

due to their higher levels of protein with more balanced amino acid profile, crude fibre and minerals such as Iron, Zinc, and Phosphorous, millets can provide nutritional security and act as a shield against nutritional deficiency, especially among children and women.

According to the International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), over 500 million people in more than 30 countries depend on sorghum as a staple food. However, in the past 50 years, these grains have largely been abandoned in favour of more popular crops like Wheat, Maize, rice & Soybean.

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