The International Year of Millets (IYM2023), which was aimed at creating a buzz around the production and consumption of millets, has officially been concluded.

At a meeting held at the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) headquarters in Rome on March 29, representatives from key stakeholders spoke on the need to continue the momentum.

The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and Indian Institute of Millets Research (IIMR-ICAR) were among the stakeholders that took part in the conference, which took stock of the events conducted across the globe.

Through over 100 events held in 35 countries, IYM2023 highlighted the resilience, nutritional prowess and environmental benefits of millets. Stakeholders from governments, international organisations, farmers, researchers and consumers came together to advocate for sustainable millet production and consumption, amplifying the messages on millets’ critical role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. 

“The IYM2023 has had a profound impact on the worldwide understanding and appreciation of millets and has sparked meaningful collaborations and innovations aimed at harnessing the full potential of these remarkable grains,” Jacqueline d’Arros Hughes, Director General of ICRISAT, said.

“The culmination event did not mark an end but rather a new beginning—a chapter characterised by collective action and steadfast commitment to furthering the millet agenda,” she said in a statement on Thursday.

She said the recently held Global South Millet held in Dubai from March 25-26 brought together leaders, policymakers and representatives from leading millet-producing countries and international organisations to devise strategies for deeper cooperation and to explore the development of Centers of Excellence for Millets.

“We are confident that we possess both the opportunities and strategies necessary to confront the challenges that lie ahead beyond the International Year of Millets,” Rebbie Harawa, Director of ICRISAT’s Africa Programme, said in her keynote address at the Rome conference.

“Challenges such as climate change and malnutrition, although formidable, can be transformed into opportunities. Millets exhibit remarkable resilience in the face of adverse climate conditions, unlike many conventional crops and boast a rich nutritional profile,” Harawa said.