The Republic of Guyana will supply a suitable 200 acre plot of land in Guyana, while the UPL will contribute technical know-how and agricultural inputs.
The Republic of Guyana and UPL, an Indian MNC that manufactures and markets agrochemicals, industrial chemicals, have announced a partnership to build a 200-acre "Millets Model Farm." On April 21, 2023, in Georgetown, Guyana, Jai Shroff, Group CEO of UPL Group, and Mr. Zulfikar Mustafa, Agriculture Minister of the Republic of Guyana, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to study the suitability of various millet types for cultivation and consumption in Guyana. The MoU was signed at the same time as an Indian group travelled to Guyana under the leadership of S. Jaishankar, the union minister of external affairs.
In this agreement, UPL will provide technical know-how and particular agricultural inputs, the Republic of Guyana will provide an appropriate land piece in Guyana measuring 200 acres, and the Republic of Guyana will handle local farm operations.
The year 2023 has been designated as the International Year of Millets, and the Indian government is making great efforts to establish India as the global centre for millets. In New Delhi's Dilli Haat, the Millets Experience Centre (MEC) was recently opened by India's Minister of Agriculture, Narendra Singh Tomar.
Millets, commonly referred to as "superfoods," are a climate-smart, sustainable, historically significant, and incredibly nutrient-dense food source. The production of millet uses half as much water per acre as that of rice, making it a crop that conserves water. Millet can also withstand a wider range of climatic conditions than other crops, such as droughts, floods, heat stress, irregular rainfalls, etc., preventing food loss and boosting the resilience of small farmers.
The FAO defines millets as a broad category of grains that includes fonio, sorghum (or large millet), teff, pearl, proso, foxtail, barnyard, small, kodo, browntop, finger, and Guinea millets. Many people in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia rely on them as a major source of food. They contribute to ensuring food security in locations where they are culturally relevant and are firmly ingrained in Indigenous Peoples' cultures and customs. Because they contain minerals, protein, and antioxidants, millets are also very nutritive. Each species of millet is a whole grain that has a specific kind and quantity of fibre that helps control lipids, blood sugar, and intestinal function.
Sagar Kaushik, President, Global Corporate & Industry Affairs from UPL, said, “We are delighted to partner with the Republic of Guyana as the first country in Latin America to explore millet cultivation potential in Guyana, which will also benefit smallholding farmers.”
Explaining the initiatives further, Kaushik Said, said, “UPL is paving the path for millet cultivation and making important strides toward its vision of a food-secure world through this collaboration. This is a win-win situation for both Guyana and the UPL. UPL’s expertise and technical know-how will play a crucial role in ensuring the success of this initiative, which can provide a sustainable livelihood to smallholding farmers globally. We are excited about the potential of this collaboration and look forward to working with the Republic of Guyana to achieve our shared goal of promoting sustainable agriculture practices.”