India prepares a roadmap to promote export of millets and its value-added products

As per India’s millet promotion strategy, major international retail supermarkets such as Lulu group, Carrefour, Al Jazira, Al Maya and Walmart would be roped in to establish millet corners for branding and promotion

In order to promote the export of millets and its value-added products, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India through its apex agricultural export promotion body, the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) has prepared a comprehensive strategy to promote Indian millets’ exports across the globe commencing December 2022, Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India said on Thursday.

The millets export promotion programme also comes against the backdrop of the proposal of India that was supported by 72 countries which lead to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) declaring 2023 as the International Year of Millets (IYoM) on March 5, 2021. The government is currently organising IYoM-2023 at the domestic and international levels to popularise Indian millets as well as its value-added products across the world and make it a people’s movement. India exported millet products worth of USD 34.32 million during 2021-22, the ministry said in the statement.

For exports of Indian millets promotion, the Central government has planned to facilitate the participation of exporters, farmers and traders in 16 international trade expos and buyer-seller meets (BSMs).

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As per the Government’s robust strategy to promote millets, Indian missions abroad would be roped in branding and publicity of Indian millets, identification of international chefs as well as potential buyers such as departmental stores, supermarkets and hypermarkets for organising B2B meetings and direct tie-ups.

In addition, ambassadors of foreign missions in India of the targeted countries and potential importers would also be invited to showcase various millet-based products, including ready-to-eat millet products and facilitate B2B meetings.

APEDA has planned to organise millet promotional activities in South Africa, UAE (Dubai), Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Australia (Sydney), Belgium, Germany, United Kingdom and the United States by facilitating the participation of different stakeholders from India in some of the significant food shows, buyer-seller meets and road shows.

As part of the promotion of Indian millets, APEDA has planned to showcase millets and its value-added product at various global platforms such as Gulfood 2023, Foodex, Seoul Food & Hotel Show, Saudi Agro Food, Fine Food Show in Sydney, Belgium’s Food & Beverages Show, Germany’s BioFach and Anuga Food Fair, San Francisco’s Winter Fancy Food Show, among various other promotional activities to cater to the overseas markets.

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India is one of the leading producers of millets in the world. As per FAO, world production of millets in the year 2020 was 30.464 million metric tonnes (MMT) and India’s share was 12.49 MMT, which accounts for 41 per cent of the total millet production. India recorded 27 per cent growth in millet production in 2021-22 as compared to millet production in the previous year was 15.92 MMT.

India’s top five millet-producing states are Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. The share of export of millets is nearly 1 per cent of the total millet production. Exports of millets from India include mainly whole grain and the export of value-added products of millets from India is negligible.

However, according to the Government, it is estimated that the millets market is set to grow from its current market value of more than USD 9 billion to over USD 12 billion by 2025. The pre-launch of IYoM-2023 is scheduled for December 5, 2022 involving stakeholders of the supply chain such as FPOs, startups, exporters, and producers of millet-based value-added products. Besides, buyer-seller meets would also be organised in the countries of Indonesia, Japan and the United Kingdom to promote Indian millets.

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APEDA would also organise food sampling and tasting at the retail level and in key local bazaars of targeted countries where individual, household consumers can gain familiarity with millet products.

For the promotion of Indian millets and its value-added products, the Central government has developed 30 e-catalogues on each of the targeted countries comprising information on various Indian millets and the range of their value-added products available for export, a list of active exporters, startups, FPOs and importers, retail chain and hypermarkets that to be circulated to the Indian embassies abroad, importers, exporters, startups and stakeholders.

The government is also mobilising startups for export promotion of value-added products in the ready-to-eat (RTE) and ready-to-serve (RTS) categories such as noodles, pasta, breakfast cereals mix, biscuits, cookies, snacks and sweets.

As per the Centre’s millet promotion strategy, major international retail supermarkets like Lulu group, Carrefour, Al Jazira, Al Maya and Walmart would also be roped in to establish millet corners for branding and promotion of millets, Ministry of Commerce & Industry said.

APEDA has also created a separate section for millets on its website and the country-wise and state-wise e-catalogues have been uploaded for information to the stakeholders.

The Government has also started formulating a five-year strategic plan for the promotion of millets and value-added millet products in the international market in association with ICAR-Indian Institute of Millets Research (IIMR), Hyderabad; ICMR-National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), Hyderabad; CSIR-Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI), Mysore and farmer producer organisations (FPOs).

The Centre has created the Nutri Cereals Export Promotion Forum to give impetus to the export of potential products, including millets, and to remove the bottlenecks in the supply chain of nutri-cereals.

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Millets have superior nutritional values in comparison to highly consumed cereals such as rice and wheat. Millets are rich in calcium, iron, and fibres that help in fortifying essential nutrients for healthy growth in children. Also, the usage of millets in infant food and nutrition products is increasing.

As per the DGCIS data, India registered a growth of 8.02 per cent in the export of millets in the financial year 2021-22 as it was 159,332.16 metric tonnes against 147,501.08 metric tonnes during the same period last year.

India’s major millet exporting countries are UA.E, Nepal, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Oman, Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, UK and USA. The varieties of millets exported by India include Bajra, Ragi, Canary, Jawar, and Buckwheat.

The major millet-importing countries in the world are Indonesia, Belgium, Japan, Germany, Mexico, Italy, the USA, United Kingdom, Brazil and Netherlands.

There are 16 major varieties of millets, which are produced and exported, including Sorghum (Jowar), Pearl Millet (Bajra), Finger Millet (Ragi) Minor Millets (Kangani), Proso Millet (Cheena), Kodo Millet (Kodo), Barnyard Millet (Sawa/Sanwa/Jhangora), Little Millet (Kutki), Two Pseudo Millets (BuckWheat/Kuttu), Ameranthus (Chaulai) and Brown Top Millet.

APEDA has also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with IIMR to boost value-addition and farmers’ income. APEDA launched a variety of millet products for all age groups at affordable prices ranging from Rs 5 to Rs 15 during AAHAR food fair, which is Asia’s biggest B2B international food and hospitality fair.

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