As part of the ongoing ‘Food, Agriculture and Livelihood’ fortnight, the India Pavilion at EXPO2020 Dubai hosted a seminar – ‘India: Millet production and upscaling value chain’ on Friday. Senior government officials and sector experts deliberated on opportunities for Indian industry players producing and processing millets, to enhance the export potential of the country during the session.
Speaking at the session, Dr. Abhilaksh Likhi, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare said, “We urge the startups and farmer producer organisations (FPOs) to not only help in upscaling millets’ value chain, connecting to domestic and international markets but also to creating an inclusive framework where we take producing communities along.”
The UN General Assembly adopted a resolution sponsored by India and supported by over 70 nations declaring 2023 as the ‘International Year of Millets’, aimed at raising awareness about the health benefits of the grain and its suitability for cultivation under changing climatic conditions.
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Speaking on the building momentum for millets, Shubha Thakur, Joint Secretary (Crops & Oil Seeds), Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Government of India said, “Keeping in view the International Year of Millets, we are trying to build momentum for the millet campaign by highlighting its nutritional benefits and value chain.”
Underlining the nutritional security aspect of millets, Dr. B Dayakar Rao, CEO, Nutrihub, said, “Millets have health benefits and can reduce obesity and malnutrition. It is well marked on vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals and it also helps beat hypertension, colon cancer and cardiovascular diseases as it reduces triglycerides present in the body.” He added, “Now with the onset of the International Year of Millets, India is ready to lead the world by sharing best practices, technologies, the goodness of millets and established values and experience with other countries.”
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Talking about the policy incentives in this sector, Kuntal Sensarma, Economic Advisor, Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI) said, “Two of our suggestions to the Union Ministry of Finance for this year’s budget have been accepted to strengthen the sector and create necessary policy environment. One was in the context of the International Year of Millets for 2023 based on major programmatic interventions and the other one on the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme and formalisation of micro-enterprises.”
Deliberating on upscaling the value chain of millets, Dr. C Anandharamkrishnan, Director, National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management (NIFTEM) said, “There is a need to formalise the unorganised food processing system by providing the FPOs, SHGs (self-help groups) and cooperatives with technical support, credit linkages and ensuring adequate storage capacity to avoid food wastage.”
Multiple startups and FPOs are participating in the ‘Food, Agriculture and Livelihood’ fortnight and displaying their innovative agritech solutions and, sustainable and healthy millets-based products. The fortnight will conclude on March 2, 2022.
Photo credit: ICRISAT