High Commission of India in Abuja, Nigeria celebrated Millets Food Festival & Cooking Competition today at the Chancery premises in presence of the members of the Indian community, Nigerian officials, and media persons.
The festival was organised in partnership with the high-level Indian delegation led by Additional Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Government of India, Abhilaksh Likhi, who is in Abuja to participate in the event.
On this occasion, several restaurants put up their stalls and served food (prepared with millets) to the participants to promote the millets. Several exhibitions from IITA, International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Niger state, Farmers Association of Nigeria and Nigerian Export Promotion Council also participated in the event. Apart from showcasing, many partner organisations put up their food stalls including stalls of Niger state showcasing Niger state cuisine. A cooking competition was also organised by the High Commission of India in which 16 participants took part.
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Spouses of the ambassadors of South Korea, Indonesia, Czech Republic, IITA Nutrition Expert and Chef of Johnwood Hotel were on the jury of the competition. Several cultural performances from Niger state artists and from Federal Ministry of Information and Culture were also part of the event today.
Speaking on the occasion, Likhi said, the ‘Millet Event’ in Nigeria, which is the 2nd richest and most populous country of the African continent could become a launching pad for the promotion and production of environment-friendly, healthy ‘nutri-cereals’ in the true spirit of South-South Collaboration and Cooperation on Millets. He said, millets have served as a traditional staple for hundreds of millions of people in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia for 7,000 years, and are now being revived as an alternative to staple food of rice and wheat cultivated across the world.
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Speaking at the Millets Food Festival, Likhi emphasised that millets are among the first plants to be domesticated and are considered ‘nutri-cereals’ due to their high nutritional content. He informed the delegates that after the Nigerian success story, India’s Ministry of Agriculture will undertake such promotional events in coordination with Indian embassies, high commissions, and consulates in other African countries like Egypt, South Africa, Algeria, Morocco, Ethiopia, Kenya, Angola, Ghana and Sudan to address the challenge of food security facing 54-member strong African continent.
In his brief remarks, High Commissioner mentioned that the United Nations General Assembly has declared 2023 as the International Year of Millets (IYM 2023) and this was proposed by India and supported by over 70 nations. The International Year of Millets stands to provide a unique opportunity to increase global production, ensure efficient processing and consumption, promote better utilisation of crop rotations, and encourage better connectivity throughout food systems to promote millets as a key component of the food basket.