In order to boost exports through quality production and processing, Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the ICAR-Indian Institute of Millet Research (ICAR-IIMR) which is expected to boost value addition and farmers’ income.
The key focus of the MoU would be to promote commercial cultivation of processable varieties developed by ICAR-IIMR for exports which is expected to promote the value addition of millets, a cereal with high nutritive value.
The MoU also envisages the creation of market linkages with farmers as well as farmer producers organisations. A joint coordination committee with representatives from APEDA and ICAR-IIMR would be set up to achieve the goals envisaged under the MoU.
The objective of the MoU is to build the export centric ecosystem with the requisite supply chain linkages, technological repository, clinical studies, awareness creation, policy changes and pipeline of entrepreneurs.
Both APEDA and ICAR-IIMR would work for developing knowledge on understanding of markets, consumer preferences, emerging segments, analyse export competitiveness, price volatility of markets and market intelligence on standards, regulations and trade policies.
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The creation of a Millet Export Promotion Forum in collaboration with all the key stakeholders for identifying export clusters to source sizable quantities of produce and for linking stakeholders with FPOs would be taken up jointly by both organisations.
The MoU gives thrust on work relating to sensitisation, promotion and policy advocacy to the Government departments for bringing new policy changes and convergences in favour of millet exports.
Both the organisations would jointly develop an export strategy and accordingly conduct training programmes for the existing millet processors and entrepreneurs on various export policies and schemes for increasing exports of millets.
Development and implementation of novel frameworks such as traceability and artificial intelligence would be taken for promoting millets exports. Handholding activities for the start-ups for export compliance are also envisaged under the MoU.
Profiling of millet growers or farmers in all major millet growing regions of the country and strengthening of the seed supply chain would be taken up by ICAR-IIMR.
Millets are cereal crops with high nutritive value and are categorised as small-seeded grasses. The key varieties of millets include sorghum, pearl millet, ragi, small millet, foxtail millet, barnyard millet, kodo millet and others.
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Recently, the United Nations General Assembly has passed the resolution to celebrate the International Year of Millets (IYM) in 2023, to promote the health benefits of millets and their suitability under the changing climatic conditions globally. As IYM is round the corner, it is expected that the demand for millets will grow exponentially in many countries.
ICAR-IIMR has been working along the entire millet value chain. Through several projects, ICAR-IIMR has piloted several interventions to build the value chain for these forgotten crops, and thus to revive the millets for nutritional security in the country.
Considering the potential of increasing exports of millets and millet products and the focus given by the Government for the development of millet sector, APEDA has been formulating a long term strategy with ICAR-IIMR and other stakeholders like National Institute Nutrition, CSIR-Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI) and FPOs for promotion of millets and millet products.
To boost exports prospects of various agricultural produce, APEDA has signed a series of MoUs with Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU), Coimbatore; University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore; National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED) and among various other organisations.