PM Modi's millet special lunch in Papua New Guinea included delicacies such as millet and vegetable soup, malai kofta, and Rajasthani ragi gatta curry, among others
Indian food and millets were prominent at Prime Minister Modi's banquet meal for leaders attending the third India-Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC) Summit in Papua New Guinea on May 22. PM Modi co-hosted an important summit between India and 14 Pacific island countries to strengthen bilateral ties with his Papua New Guinea counterpart, James Marape. Modi is the first Indian prime minister to visit the Pacific country.
The lunch menu included khandvi, a popular Gujarati delicacy; millet and vegetable soup made with Kodo millet and highland vegetables served with cornbread; malai kofta (cottage cheese and vegetable balls simmered in aromatic Indian rich kofta curry); Rajasthani ragi gatta curry made with finger millet and gramme flour dumplings cooked in sour gravy; vegetable Kolhapuri (a mix vegetable cooked with traditional Indian onion
There was also millet biryani, veggie biryani made with nutrient-rich barnyard millet, and nannu fulka, bread made with wheat flour.
Desserts and beverages on the menu included masala chaas, a drink made with creamy yoghurt and Indian spices; paan kulfi, a betel leaf-flavored milk-based Indian dessert; and malpua with rabdi, an Indian sweet pancake.
The inclusion of millets in the menu symbolises the emphasis India places on millets as well as the country's attempts to promote awareness about food security and nutrition.
PM Modi gave millets a new significance and dimension by naming them "Shree Anna."
In March 2021, the United Nations General Assembly declared 2023 to be the International Year of Millets on India's suggestion.
Millets were among the first crops to be grown in Asia and Africa. Later, it became a key food supply for advanced civilisations all across the world.
These small-seeded and durable crops, one of the oldest meals known to mankind, can flourish on such areas with few inputs and are resistant to climate change.
Improved variety, longer shelf life, efficient processing, and market access are all critical to strengthening the millet value chain, making it a suitable alternative for countries seeking to boost self-sufficiency and reduce dependency on imported cereal grains.
The United Nations initiative to declare 2023 the International Year of Millets aims to raise awareness of millets for food security and nutrition, increase investment in R&D and extension, and inspire stakeholders to improve millet production, productivity, and quality.
Millets can develop from seeds to ready-to-harvest crops in a short amount of time because to their short growing season. This feature of millets is critical in densely inhabited areas around the world. Millets can be stored properly for two years or more.
Jowar (sorghum), Bajra (pearl millet), Ragi (finger millet), Jhangora (barnyard millet), Barri (common millet), Kangni (foxtail/ Italian millet), Kodra (kodo millet), and other millets are commonly farmed in India.
Millets include a high concentration of proteins, antioxidants, minerals, and other nutrients. It lowers blood sugar and cholesterol levels and is gluten-free, making it an excellent staple diet choice for celiac disease patients.
It has a low glycemic index, making it an excellent choice for diabetics and anyone suffering from associated issues.