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Promoting Millets As An Essential Part Of The Food Basket 

By Outlook Planet Desk May 04, 2023

The nation's production goals for millets have been set at 170.0 lakh tonnes in 2023–2024

Promoting Millets As An Essential Part Of The Food Basket 
International demand for millets is poised to rise .
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The national targets for the production of foodgrains and other commodities, such as millets or Shree Anna, have been established by the National Conference on Agriculture for Kharif Campaign 2023–2024. It is necessary to enhance the total Shree Anna production from 159.1 lakh tonnes in 2022–2023 to 170.0 lakh tonnes in 2023–2024. Increased area would be achieved through intercropping, crop diversification, and adoption of appropriate agronomic practices in poor yielding areas. Productivity would also be improved.

At the NASC Complex in New Delhi, the National Conference on Agriculture for Kharif Campaign 2023–24 was officially opened by Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar. In his remarks, he highlighted that agriculture is the backbone of the Indian economy and is essential to its socioeconomic development.

Tomar highlighted his happiness for the agriculture industry in India, which has had strong growth with an average annual growth rate of 4.6% over the past six years. 

The goal of this conference was to review and evaluate crop performance over the previous crop seasons, set crop-specific goals for the Kharif season in consultation with state governments, ensure the supply of essential inputs, and facilitate the adoption of cutting-edge technologies in order to increase crop production and productivity.  

The Minister recalled that on March 18, 2023, India hosted The Global Millets (Shree Anna) Conference as part of the main celebration of the International Year of Millets. Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated the International Year of Millets (IYM) 2023 and displayed a commemorative coin and stamp honouring IYM, which was followed by the digital release of a book of millets (Shree Anna) standards. Following the Prime Minister's declaration of ICAR-IIMR as a Global Centre of Excellence, a short film about Shree Anna and IYM 2023 was screened. The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers' Welfare coordinates frequent meetings (in person or by video conferencing) with all the stakeholders to ensure that IYM is observed in a systematic manner throughout the year. Expert institutes such as ICAR-IIMR, APEDA, ICRISAT and others are also involved to encourage R&D, productivity and value addition.

Speaking at the conference, Kailash Choudhary, Minister of State (Agriculture and Farmers Welfare), expressed optimism that the international demand for millets will increase as a result of the designation of 2023 as the International Year of Millets (IYM). The occasion will provide the government with an opportunity to promote millets as an essential part of the food basket by increasing production, ensuring efficient processing and consumption, encouraging better crop rotation, and fostering improved connectedness throughout food systems. Millets have a great deal of potential to provide food and nutritional security, climatic resilience, economic and ecological diversification, and multifunctionality. Millets, often known as "Smart Food" or "Nutri-Cereals," are changing agri-food systems all over the world. India is positioned to emerge as a global hub for millets.

Senior executives from DA&FW, ICAR, and officers from several State Governments attended the National Conference along with the Additional Secretary (Agriculture). Following this, there was a discussion with the Agriculture Production Commissioners and Principal Secretaries of every State to discuss how to improve area coverage, production, and productivity during the Kharif season in 2023.

 

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