With 14 per cent growth in millets exports, Government’s agri export promotion body, APEDA has decided to focus on shipments of its organic variety to achieve the target of at least ₹2,000 crore export by FY26. Millets exports were to the tune of about ₹460 crore in 2021-22.
“We intend to exceed ₹2,000 crore by 2025-26 by touching at least 100 plus countries in value-added and processed organic millet products,” said M Angamuthu, Chairman of Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA). He said APEDA has prepared a country-specific millet products catalogue to promote and facilitate export and international business. Currently, millets go to about 30 countries.
India ranks at fifth position in global millet trade, while shipments go to UAE, Saudi Arabia, Nepal, USA, Japan, Germany, Bangladesh and many others. Export of millet is less than one per cent of its domestic production.
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It is possible that with the collective efforts in expansion of area under millet cultivation, use of technology and packing for value-added products and through promotional programme, the export can be geared up to great extent, he said.
By default, the entire export is of organic nature only, an official said adding the need is to bring these products under certification process so that they get into the international market. Certified organic millets are mainly produced in Karnataka and Rajasthan and some quantities in Uttarakhand, too.
Sorghum (jowar), pearl millet (bajra), and ragi are commonly certified organic millets. Though much quantity has not been commercially produced as organic, processed millets are being exported as organic from the country. Millet as flour, flakes, and in whole are being exported as organic to South America, Europe, USA, Canada, and New Zealand.
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“The market demand for value-added millets is more when it is certified as organic as well. With the appropriate use of processing technologies for development of value-added products, the market acceptance of organic millet-based products can be enhanced as they possess unique nutritional properties making them superior to other cereals, APEDA officials said.
As millets are already popular in African countries and are largely consumed, the introduction of multiple varieties and processed forms can attract consumers, the officials said. APEDA is eyeing to see organic millet-based products to substitute popular rice-based food in south Asia, at least partially.
“The change in food habits and adaptability to new products requires time. Massive promotional activities for millet-based products have been proposed targeting potential markets, such as UAE, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Korea USA, Europe, South Africa,” Angamuthu said.