Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Wednesday stressed the need to increase productivity, production and processing of millets and said an adequate quantity of millets should be consumed for meeting nutritional requirements.
The minister was addressing industry chamber CII's National Conference on Millets: Ensuring Climate Adaptation, Nutrition and Food Security.
The United Nations has declared 2023 as the International Year of Millet (IYM) on the proposal of the Indian government.
"Millets is an Indian grain and it is full of nutritional value," Tomar said. However, he said, wheat and rice have occupied more space in our food plate.
Now, Tomar said, the time has come that there is adequate availability of millet in the food plate as this would help in meeting the nutritional requirement of people.
The IYM 2023 has provided a great opportunity to create awareness about the benefits of millets, he said, adding that the Centre has been taking steps in this direction for the last few years.
Tomar stressed that people should also eat millet frequently so that the challenge of nutritional deficiency could be addressed.
The minister highlighted that the government is focusing on increasing farmers' income.
He also said that the Centre in the last eight years has launched various programmes, such as PM-KISAN and the crop insurance scheme Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, to boost farmers' income.
The government has also set an agriculture credit target of Rs 18 lakh crore for this fiscal year and it is also promoting the use of technology and cluster farming.
The UN declaration has been instrumental for the government to be at the forefront of celebrating the International Year of Millet. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also shared his vision to make IYM 2023 a 'People's Movement' alongside positioning India as the ‘Global Hub for Millets'.
In India, millets are primarily a kharif crop, requiring less water and agricultural inputs than other similar staples. Millets are important as it has the potential to generate livelihoods, increase farmers’ income and ensure food & nutritional security all over the world.