Sunday, August 14, 2022

Millets will be the future super food for India

“The production of coarse cereals in the country increased to 17.96 million tonnes in 2020-21 from 14.52 million tonnes in 2015-16 and the production of bajra (pearl millet) also increased to 10.86 million tonnes in the same period. Because it can be easily preserved for a long time even under ordinary conditions, coarse grain is a saviour in times of famine.”

— Prahlad Singh Patel, Union Minister of State for Food Processing Industries

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The Union Minister of State for Food Processing Industries, Prahlad Singh Patel recently inaugurated a National Conference on Millets. The theme of the meet was, ‘The Future Super Food for India’. Oganised by industry body ASSOCHAM with the support of the ministry of Food Processing Industries, the conference discussed opportunities and challenges in ensuring food and nutritional security.

Patel said that the production of coarse cereals in the country had increased to 17.96 million tonnes in 2020-21 from 14.52 million tonnes in 2015-16 and the production of bajra (pearl millet) had also increased to 10.86 million tonnes in the same period. Because it can be easily preserved for a long time even under ordinary conditions, coarse grain is a saviour in times of famine.

Talking about the advantages of millets at the conference, the Minister said it was among the oldest eatables in the country. It can be grown well in dry areas or even on lands with deficient and low fertility and that is why it is known as the superfood of India.

Minhaj Alam, Joint Secretary, M/o Food Processing Industries spoke about spreading awareness of millets all around the globe as India was now the 5th largest exporter of millets globally. He informed that year 2023 would be the international year of millets that will create value generation and promotion of sustainable products in food choices. He also added that more investments were required in production and processing of millets

The major millets producing states in India include Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Telangana.

The Minister also said that due to their short growing season, millets can develop from seeds to ready-to-harvest crops in 65 days. If stored properly, millets can keep well for two years or beyond. He stated that there was a need to put millets in the mainstream of foods to improve India’s nutrition outcomes.

Patel said that the government had revised the guidelines to facilitate the movement of the surplus production of millets to other states. The provision of inter-state transportation of surplus millets through the Food Corporation of India (FCI) is incorporated to cater for advance demands placed by consuming states before the start of procurement.

Minhaj Alam, Joint Secretary, M/o Food Processing Industries spoke about spreading awareness of millets all around the globe as India was now the 5th largest exporter of millets globally. He informed that year 2023 would be the international year of millets that will create value generation and promotion of sustainable products in food choices. He also added that more investments were required in production and processing of millets.

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Tirthankar Ghosh
Tirthankar Ghosh is a senior journalist and presently Managing Editor, Newsline Publications. He has also been writing for well over 15 years for the New York-based Air Cargo News Flying Typers.

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