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Union Agriculture Minister Arjun Munda Inaugurates ASEAN-India Millet Festival

The ASEAN-India Millet Festival was inaugurated by the Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare and Tribal Affairs Shri Arjun Munda in Delhi.

KJ Staff
Union Agriculture Minister Arjun Munda
Union Agriculture Minister Arjun Munda

The two-day festival, organized by the Indian Mission in ASEAN in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, will bring together policymakers, entrepreneurs, expert startups, and officials from ASEAN countries including India are participating. Ministers of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Kailash Chaudhary, Sushri Shobha Karandlaje, and Secretary Manoj Ahuja were also present on the occasion.  

In line with the International Year of Millets, the festival aims to raise awareness and establish a larger market for millets and millet-based products. Mr Munda said that millet provides innumerable benefits to farmers, consumers, and the environment and makes an important contribution to global food nutrition security.

Addressing the delegates from India, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam, the Chief Guest, Arjun Munda highlighted the government policies and market innovations to promote the production and consumption of millets and highlighted the socio-economic and socio-economic and economic problems associated with its increased consumption.

Highlighting nutritional and climatic benefits, Mr Munda said that the programme reflects the vibrancy of millets and their immense potential to transform agriculture and nutrition. Under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Government of India has played an important role in organizing the International Year of Millets 2023.

This concerted effort has pushed the boundaries and transformed the event into a global landmark of unparalleled significance. Prime Minister Modi's deep understanding of sustainable agriculture and nutritional security has been the driving force behind India's proactive progress in placing millet at the forefront of the global agenda.

The celebration of the International Year of Millets has been instrumental in creating awareness about millet to ensure food security and better nutrition. This has spurred investment in extension services along with research and development, which motivates stakeholders to enhance millet's productivity, quality, and related production methods.

Amid the global challenges like climate change, the importance of food grains increases even more. Millet is an ancient grain, whose specialty is that they are small, but nutritious and strengthens the body. Millet repletes with the power to revolutionize our approach to secure agriculture, climate, and food nutrition.

Union Minister Arjun Munda said that true millet, in every sense, is not only the bearer of the rich cultural heritage, but it also offers a sustainable solution that matches our current concerns. Millet's ability to address decisive Sustainable Development Goals, including zero hunger, good health and well-being, sustainable consumption and production, and climate action, places them as indispensable resources for developing countries.

He said that millet can grow in diverse environments, providing maximum nutritional benefits and requiring minimum resources. Millet stood the test of time, including flexibility, adaptability, and a wealth of essential nutrients.

Adopting millet in the diet is not just about nourishing yourself; rather, it is about nurturing the planet, fostering sustainable agricultural practices, and ensuring a healthier, more secure future for generations to come.

Mr Munda said that we should recognize the impact on our farmers, and why millet is not just a crop, but it a beacon of hope for our farming communities. It provides stability in uncertain climates and empowers our farmers with favourable yields and sustainable incomes.

Known for its minimum water requirements, low carbon footprint, and ability to thrive in drought conditions, millet is a truly climate-resilient crop. Because of the growing demand for vegan, gluten-free food, millet offers alternative food systems. Millet is meant as nature's gift to humanity, as well as a promising source of food for a sustainable future.

Mr Munda said that the Government of India has launched extensive campaigns and with the support of all, has positioned SRIANNA as a better solution to tackle malnutrition, mitigate the adverse effects of climate change, and promote the adoption of sustainable agricultural practices. Ministry of Agriculture is actively implementing the Sub-Mission on Millets under the National Food Security Mission in all states and union territories to promote promotion and meet the growing demand.

The Ministry of Agriculture in collaboration with various ministries and states has played an important role in the promotion of millet in the country. The launch of several state millet missions and projects is a testimony to our commitment.

The International Year of Millets has brought greater awareness and increased consumption of millet in India and on the global stage through a series of effective initiatives and strategic commitments. Mr Munda said that our commitment goes beyond words, not just in words.

By nominating millets as a "One Nation-One Priority Product" in the Food and Agriculture Organization and expanding it to "One District-One Product" in 21 districts, we have harnessed the potential of millet, harnessing their nutritional value and economic viability.

He informed that the announcement made by Prime Minister Modi during the Global Millets Conference in March 2023 to transform the Indian Millets Research Institute into a global centre of excellence for millet, is a symbol of our dedication to promoting millet cultivation and global research collaboration and innovation. IIMR has been instrumental in setting up 25 seed hubs, 18 centres in various institutes and has developed more than 200 improved varieties of Shrianna in collaboration with other agricultural institutions . This has ensured surplus availability of high quality Shrianna seeds with an aim to increase the annual seed replacement ratio to 10%.

Agriculture Secretary Manoj Ahuja, Additional Secretary Maninder Kaur and Joint Secretary Shubha Thakur welcomed the guests. The festival will also feature panel discussions on food safety, trade cooperation, and other topics, along with an exhibition of food-based products by FPOs and startups.

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