The Government of India's initiative to declare 2023 as the International Year of Millets (IYM) has laid the foundation for a holistic approach towards enhancing domestic and global demand for these nutritious grains. With support from 72 countries, the United Nations General Assembly officially recognized 2023 as the IYM, signaling a significant milestone in India's efforts to promote millets as a key component of its nutritional security agenda.
Embracing a multi-stakeholder engagement approach, the government has collaborated with various central and state ministries/departments, farmers, start-ups, exporters, and other stakeholders to achieve the objectives outlined for the IYM 2023. Through a series of targeted interventions, including awareness campaigns, culinary events, international trade shows, and capacity-building initiatives, India has endeavoured to position millet as a global superfood.
Key initiatives such as the Global Millets Conference and the establishment of the Indian Institute of Millets Research (IIMR) as the Global Centre of Excellence underscore India's commitment to knowledge sharing and technology transfer in the millet sector. The IIMR's focus on providing training and support to farmers, women, students, and entrepreneurs highlights the government's efforts to promote value-added millet products and foster entrepreneurship in rural areas.
In addition to research and capacity-building initiatives, the government has introduced policy measures to incentivize millet production and consumption. The Production Linked Incentive Scheme for Food Processing Industry for Millet-based products (PLISMBP) and inclusion of millets in the Poshan Abhiyan and Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) reflect the government's commitment to mainstreaming millets in nutrition programs and public procurement systems.
Furthermore, the government's emphasis on export promotion, through the establishment of dedicated forums and participation in international campaigns like the Eat Right campaign, aims to position India as a leading exporter of millet. By leveraging partnerships with international organizations and promoting millets as part of a healthy and sustainable diet, India seeks to address global food security challenges while enhancing its export potential.
Underpinning these efforts is the Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare's implementation of the Sub-Mission on Nutri-Cereals (Millets) under the National Food Security Mission (NFSM), which provides support to farmers for adopting millet cultivation practices. Through incentives, demonstrations, capacity-building programs, and state-specific initiatives, the government aims to enhance millet production and productivity across the country.
As India continues to champion the cause of millet on the global stage, the government remains committed to realizing the vision of a healthier, more sustainable future through the promotion of these ancient grains. This comprehensive strategy, encompassing policy interventions, research and development, and stakeholder engagement, underscores India's leadership in promoting millets as a key solution to the global nutrition challenge.
The Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Arjun Munda, shared these insights in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha, reaffirming the government's unwavering commitment to promoting millets for nutritional security and sustainable development.