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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

  • 24 September, 2022

  • 7 Min Read

International Year of Millets 2023

International Year of Millets 2023

  • In preparation for the International Year of Millets in 2023, the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has planned a number of pre-launch activities and initiatives to raise awareness and encourage involvement in the nation about the illustrious but long-forgotten golden grains.
  • Numerous initiatives were introduced, including "India's Wealth, Millets for Health," the Millet Startup Innovation Challenge, the Mighty Millets Quiz, a contest for logos and catchphrases, etc.

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Describe IYM.

  • The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) supported India's request to mark an International Year of Millets in 2023 in 2018, and the United Nations General Assembly has designated 2023 as the International Year of Millets.
  • This was approved by a United Nations Resolution, which was spearheaded by India and backed by more than 70 other countries.

Objectives:

  • Understanding of millet's role in nutrition and food security.
  • Motivate participants to increase millets' quality and sustainable production.
  • To accomplish the other two goals, concentrate on increasing expenditure on extension services and research and development.

Describe Millet.

  • The term "millet" refers to a variety of small-seeded annual grasses grown predominantly on marginal lands in dry areas of temperate, subtropical, and tropical climates as grain crops.
  • Ragi (finger millet), Jowar (sorghum), Sama (little millet), Bajra (pearl millet), and Variga are some of the popular millets available in India (Proso millet).
  • These grains were one of the first plants domesticated for food, with the earliest evidence dating to the Indus culture.
  • Around 131 countries grow it, and 60 crore people in Asia and Africa eat it as their traditional cuisine.
  • The world's largest millet producer is India.
  • It makes up 80% of production in Asia and 20% of global production.
  • Global Distribution: India, Nigeria, and China account for more than 55% of the world's millets production, making them the top three producers globally.
  • India was a significant millets grower for a long time. However, Africa has seen a sharp rise in millet output in recent years.

Significance:

Superior Nutrition:

  • Because millets have a higher amount of protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals like an iron than wheat and rice, they are less expensive and more nutritious overall.
  • Additionally high in calcium and magnesium are millets. For instance, of all the dietary grains, ragi is reported to have the greatest calcium content.
  • Millets can protect against nutritional deficiencies and offer nutritional security, particularly for children and women. Its high iron content can help India's newborns and women of reproductive age combat the country's high prevalence of anemia.
  • Millets can aid in addressing lifestyle issues and health issues including obesity and diabetes because they are gluten-free and have a low glycemic index (a relative ranking of carbohydrate in foods according to how they affect blood glucose levels).
  • Millets are a super crop because they are photo-insensitive (they don't need a certain photoperiod to flower) and climate change resistant. Millets can grow on deficient soils with little to no outside assistance.
  • Millets can offer dietary stability and serve as a defence against nutritional deficiencies, particularly in children and women. Its high iron content can combat the high frequency of anaemia among Indian women and newborns.
  • Millets are gluten-free and have a low glycemic index, which can aid in the fight against lifestyle issues and health issues including diabetes and obesity (a relative ranking of carbohydrate in foods according to how they affect blood glucose levels).
  • Millets use less water and may grow in arid environments without irrigation and even during periods of very low rainfall.
  • Millets have small water and carbon footprint (rice plants need at least 3 times more water to grow in comparison to millets).

Measures the government has taken:

  • Intensive Millet Promotion Project for Nutritional Security (INSIMP)
  • The government raised the minimum support price (MSP) for millets, which provided farmers with a significant financial incentive.
  • Millets have also been incorporated into the public distribution system by the government in order to guarantee a consistent market for the produce.
  • Support for Inputs: The government has started giving farmers access to seed kits and other inputs, creating value chains through Farmer Producer Organizations, and promoting the viability of millets on the market.

Source: The Hindu


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