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Government Stresses on the Need to Mainstream Millets to Improve India’s Nutrition Outcomes

ASSOCHAM, in collaboration with the Ministry of Food Processing Industries, organized a National Conference on Millets: The Future Super Food for India on June 23, 2022, at the Hotel Le Meridien in New Delhi.

Laavanya Arya
Prahlad Singh Patel inaugurated the conference on millets.
Prahlad Singh Patel inaugurated the conference on millets.

Prahlad Singh Patel, Union Minister of State for M/o Food Processing Industries, today (23 June) inaugurated the National Conference on Millets in New Delhi on the theme 'The Future Super Food for India’, which was organized by industry body ASSOCHAM with the support of M/o Food Processing Industries.

The primary goal of this conference was to provide a platform for leaders in the food processing sector, practitioners, scientists, farmers, industries, the organized agriculture sector, civil society, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to discuss and share achievements, as well as to deliberate the opportunities and challenges faced in ensuring food and nutritional security.

Vivek Chandra, Chairman of ASSOCHAM
Vivek Chandra, Chairman of ASSOCHAM

Welcoming all the dignitaries, ASSOCHAM Chairman, Food Processing and Value Addition Council, Vivek Chandra stated, "We need to focus on using millets as a crop and a commodity that will benefit all stakeholders from farmers to consumers."

Panelists who were present in the conference.
Panelists who were present in the conference.

Dr. Krishna Sannigrahi (Associate Director Health & Nutrition, Grameen Foundation India), Prateek Uniyal (Program Manager- India, HarvestPlus),  Pallavi Upadhyaya (Co-Founder & Managing Director, Millets for Health), and Meena Jain (Nutritionist and Founder, Mighty Millets) were among the panelists who attended the event.

Union Minister of State for M/o FPI
Union Minister of State for M/o FPI

The Union Minister stated in his inaugural address that the country's production of coarse cereals has increased to 17.96 million tonnes in 2020-21 from 14.52 million tonnes in 2015-16, and that production of bajra (pearl millet) has also increased to 10.86 million tonnes in the same period. According to Prahlad Singh Patel, coarse grain is considered a storehouse in times of famine due to its ability to be easily preserved for a long time even under ordinary conditions.

The minister said that millets are among the oldest eatables in the country. It is a crop grown from small seeds that can grow well in dry areas or even on lands with low fertility and thus is known as India's superfood. Due to their short growing season, millets can develop from seeds to ready-to-harvest crops in about 65 days, which is critical in densely populated areas around the world.

"Millets are among the oldest eatables in the country."
"Millets are among the oldest eatables in the country."

“Millets must be mainstreamed in order to improve India's nutrition outcomes”, the Union Minister said.

According to Prahlad Singh Patel, the Government of India has already revised the guidelines to facilitate the movement of surplus millets to other states. To meet advance demands placed by consuming states prior to the start of procurement, the provision of inter-state transportation of surplus millets through the Food Corporation of India (FCI) is included.

Chairman of TRIFED Ramish Rathwa
Chairman of TRIFED Ramish Rathwa

Ramish Rathwa (Chairman, Tribal Co-Operative Marketing Development Federation of India Limited (TRIFED) said, “The most common cereals consumed in India are rice or wheat, which use a lot of water, so switching to other Millet options could be beneficial for nutrition as well as the economy," according to the #ASSOCHAM National Conference on Millets.

Eminent speakers discussed the benefits and availability of Millets in the market as part of the special session on 'Exploring Opportunities to Harness Consumer Demand & Promoting Millets as a Source of Essential Nutrients' at the ASSOCHAM National Conference on Millets.

"Way Forward to Develop and Strengthen the Value Chain for Millets,"
"Way Forward to Develop and Strengthen the Value Chain for Millets,"

The conference concluded with a session on the "Way Forward to Develop and Strengthen the Value Chain for Millets," which discussed the individual responsibility of balancing our diets with millets and other cereals while also strengthening India's millet production.

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