The International Nutri Cereal Convention 5.0 has mooted a Nasscom-like organisation for the millet ecosystem to steer it over the next decade. 

The two-day event, which attracted key players in the ecosystem from India and abroad, decided to come out with a Hyderabad Declaration to help the ecosystem mainstream millets well beyond 2023.

Delivering the Presidential address at the valedictory here on Tuesday, T R Sharma, Deputy Director-General (Crop Science) of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), said collaborations between various stakeholders hold the key for mainstreaming millets in the food system.

Stating that there was a remarkable progress in (seed) varietal development and technologies to facilitate value addition in millets, he said a lot needed to be done. “We need to invest in research and development and processing technologies and work on strategies to increase exports,” he said.

“We need a 10-year roadmap to develop the millet ecosystem. We need to create a more enabling environment,” he said.

Promote value-addition

VP Sharma, Chairman of CACP (Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices), said issues such as fall in the area of millets and not so encouraging returns to the farmers growing millets were the key concerns. “We need to increase the productivity and production. Besides the minimum support prices, we should ensure additional revenues by promoting value addition. Also, working on improved varieties and promoting institutions, we need to incentivising the farmers more so that they will grow more millets,” he said.

B Dayakar Rao, Chief Executive Officer of IIMR-Nutrihub, said a Hyderabad Declaration was being prepared in association with various stakeholders to give millets a further push. “It will give a broad roadmap for the millet sector for the next 10 years,” he said.

Tamil history examples

Tara Satyavathi, Director of ICAR-IIMR (Indian Institute of Millets Research), said a plan of action would be prepared based on the deliberations of the two-day conference.

Tamilisai Soundarajan, Governor of Telangana and Lt Governor of Puducherry, gave away the awards to start-ups, entrepreneurs and Odisha Government for their contribution to the ecosystem.

Addressing the gathering later, she cited the examples from Tamil history and culture where millets were used by the warriors for strength. “You will continue to be ‘little’ (young) if you eat little millets,” she said, relating a Tamil saying.

“Millets are good for both the months-old chidren to the elderly,” she said.