New Delhi [India], January 29 (ANI): The growing interest for millets and entrepreneurs tapping its potential in India finds mention in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's monthly Mann Ki Baat programme.
A sizable portion of PM Modi's Mann Ki Baat on Sunday was dedicated to millets.
"Just as people have made yoga and fitness a part of their lives by taking active participation on a large scale; similarly people are adopting millets on a large scale. People are now making millets a part of their diet. A huge impact of this change is also visible. On the one hand, the small farmers who traditionally used to produce millets are very excited," PM Modi said, as per the English rendering of his address released by the Prime Minister's Office.
"They are very happy that the world has now started understanding the importance of millets. On the other hand, FPOs and entrepreneurs have started efforts to market millets and make them available to people."
He has drawn parallels between millets and Yoga. Notably, the United Nations has taken the decision of both International Yoga Day and International Year of Millets after India's proposal.
The government of India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi spearheaded the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolution for declaring the year 2023 as the International Year of Millets and the proposal of India was supported by 72 countries. UNGA declared 2023 as the International Year of Millets back in March 2021.
The International Year of Millets 2023 officially kicked off on January 1, 2023.
In his Sunday's Mann Ki Baat address, PM Modi mentioned KV Rama Subba Reddy of Nandyal district of Andhra Pradesh, who left a well-paying job for the sake of millets.
"The taste of millets made by his mother's hands was such that he started a millet processing unit in his village. Subba Reddy ji also explains the benefits of millets to the people and also makes it easily available," PM Modi said.
In addition, a resident of Kenad village near Alibaug in Maharashtra Sharmila Oswal also finds mention.
Oswal, PM Modi said, has been contributing in a unique way in the production of millets for the last 20 years.
"She is imparting training in smart agriculture to farmers. Her efforts have not only increased the yield of millets, but also increased the income of the farmers," Modi said.
He went on to also mention Millets Cafe in Chattisgarh's Raigarh.
"If you get a chance to visit Raigarh in Chhattisgarh, you must visit the Millets Cafe here. Items like Chilla, Dosa, Momos, Pizza and Manchurian are becoming very popular in this Millets Cafe which started a few months back," Modi said.
Further, PM Modi alsos spoke about a Self Help Group of about 1,500 women of the tribal district Sundergarh in Odisha, which is associated with the Odisha Millets Mission.
"Here women are making everything from millets... to cookies, rasgulla, gulab jamun, and even cakes. Due to their great demand in the market, the income of women is also increasing," the prime minister said, terming them as "milletpreneurs".
India is a global leader in the production of millets with an area of about 12.5 million hectares and a share of more than 15 percent of the world's total production. Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana are the major millets producing states.
Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), through its Indian Institute of Millets Research (IIMR), has so far succeeded in developing many bio-fortified varieties and novel products for the benefit of farmers and society at large.
What are millets:
Millet is a common term for categorizing small-seeded grasses that are often called Nutri-cereals. Some of them are sorghum (jowar), pearl millet (bajra), finger millet (ragi), little millet (kutki), foxtail millet (kakun), proso millet (cheena), barnyard millet (sawa), and kodo millet (kodon). Millets are now being promoted as 'Super food'.
Significance and benefits of millets:
Millets are nutritionally superior to wheat and rice owing to their higher protein levels and a more balanced amino acid profile. Millets also contain various phytochemicals which exert therapeutic properties owing to their anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties.
Further, besides being climate resilient, millet grains are rich sources of nutrients like carbohydrates, protein, dietary fibre, and good-quality fat; minerals like calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, manganese, zinc and B complex vitamins.
Most importantly, millet production is not dependent on the use of chemical fertilizers.
Background of millets in India:
Millets were traditionally consumed, but due to the push given to food security through Green Revolution in the 1960s, millets were less consumed and almost forgotten.
Before the Green Revolution, millets made up around 40 per cent of all cultivated grains, which has dropped to around 20 per cent over the years.
India's millet trade:
India exported millets products worth of USD 34.32 million during 2021-22. In 2020- 21, India exported millets worth USD 26.97 million against USD 28.5 million in 2019-20.
India's major millet exporting countries are UAE, Nepal, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Oman, Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, the UK, and the US. (ANI)