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NITI Aayog Signs Agreement with UN World Food Programme to Diversify Food Baskets

NITI Aayog has entered into an agreement with the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) to address issues related to the inclusion of millets in government programmes, with the goal of creating a more diverse food basket through its free food distribution programme, with a focus on coarse grains & millets.

Shivam Dwivedi
Millets
Millets

NITI Aayog has entered into an agreement with the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) to address issues related to the inclusion of millets in government programmes, with the goal of creating a more diverse food basket through its free food distribution programme, with a focus on coarse grains & millets.

Focus on Mainstreaming Millets:

According to a statement of intent signed on Tuesday by the Aayog and the United Nations World Food Program (WFP), the focus will be on mainstreaming millets and strengthening climate-resilient agriculture for improved food & nutrition security in India.

Several steps have been taken to promote millets, according to the statement, including the establishment of a centre for excellence, the inclusion of Nutri-cereals in the National Food Security Act, and the establishment of Millet Missions in multiple states.

"However, various challenges in terms of production, distribution, and consumer adaptability remain," it said. "Under the distribution system, it is time to shift the focus of food distribution programmes away from calorie fundamentalism and toward providing a more diverse food basket, including coarse grains and millets, to improve the nutritional status of pre-school children and women of reproductive age," it said, adding that the Aayog and WFP intend to identify and address these challenges in a systematic and effective manner.

In accordance with a United Nations General Assembly resolution, the government designated 2018 as the International Year of Millets in order to encourage and promote millet production in India, and 2023 as the International Year of Millets. "The partnership focuses on mainstreaming millets and assisting India in taking the lead in knowledge exchange globally."

Building Capacities to Avoid Climate Risk:

Furthermore, the partnership will aim to "build resilient livelihoods for small-holder farmers, as well as adaptation capacities to climate change and the transformation of food systems," according to the statement.

The two parties will collaborate in four phases, beginning with the creation of a best practice compendium on millet mainstreaming and a scale-up strategy in the first phase.

In the second phase, they will support millet mainstreaming scale-up through knowledge sharing and intensive engagement with select states, while in the third phase, they will leverage India's expertise to support developing countries for millet mainstreaming and work on building capacities for climate-resilient and adaptive livelihood practices.

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