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 for coarse cereals.
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 this 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. Mentioning these things, PM Modi said that millets 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 regarding coarse grains. 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, continuous steps have been taken to make farmers aware of these grains as well as to make their 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 millets have also been selected in 19 districts of the country under the ‘One District, One Product’ scheme.
Bullet grains a boon for small farmers
Under coarse grains, grains like Jowar, Bajra, Ragi, Sama, Kangni, Cheena, Kodon, Kutki, Kuttu come. 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. Millets 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 grains in the national food basket is just 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
India’s campaign related to coarse cereals is also considered very helpful by many countries of the world 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 Zewade believes that millets will go a long way in tackling the food security challenges of not only sub-Saharan Ethiopia but the entire African continent.
Largest producer of coarse cereals
The largest fat 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.
Immense export potential of coarse cereals
India has the potential to lead the world as a major player in the global supply chain of millets and food products made from it. 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.