New Delhi Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said that millet can enable the world to tackle challenges of food security, climate change and lifestyle habit-related diseases. He called on all the stakeholders to work on increasing millets’ (Sri Anna’s) contribution to India’s food basket.

Addressing the Global Millets (Sri Anna) Conference, the Prime Minister said, “Currently millets contribution to India’s national food basket is estimated at just 5-6 per cent. I urge Agricultural scientists, farm experts and other stakeholders to work on increasing this contribution speedily. We will need to set annual achievable targets in this direction.”

Millets mission

Stressing that millets can be grown easily in adverse climatic conditions and without chemicals and fertilizers, the prime minister said that India’s millets mission will benefit 2.5 crore small and marginal farmers. He said an entire supply chain of millets is being developed with the participation of FPOs, farmers, start-ups, and others.

The Prime Minister said it is a matter of great honour for the country that after India’s proposal and efforts, the United Nations declared 2023 as the ‘International Year of Millets’. He added that India is consistently working to promote millets or Sri Anna as a global movement. He also informed that the sale of millet food products has seen a boost of roughly 30 per cent.

“India is the President of G-20 at this time. Our motto is - ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future.’ This is also reflected as we mark the ‘International Year of Millets”,” he added.

The PM said millets can be grown even in adverse climatic conditions and areas facing a water crisis. It can be grown naturally without the aid of any chemicals. “On one hand, the global South is concerned about issues of food security, on the other hand the global North is facing challenges of food-related diseases. Millets can help tackle challenges of food security as well as food habits,” he added.

“We have given millets a new identity of Sri Anna. Sri Anna is not limited just to farming or food. It is also a medium of the country’s holistic development. Villages, tribals as well as small and marginal farmers are closely connected with the millets ecosystem.” he added.

Inclusion into PDS scheme

Stated that certain states have already included Sri Anna in their PDS scheme, he added that more and more states should work in this direction “ By including millets in mid-day meals, we can ensure our children get better nutrition, taste and diverse meals,” Modi said.

He said efforts will also be needed to ensure that the Centre’s PLI scheme that has been launched in the food processing sector should benefit the millet sector and encourage more companies to launch millet-based packaged goods.

Recognising the importance of millets as nutri-cereals, India spearheaded the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolution for declaring the year 2023 as the International Year of Millets. “Global Millets Conference is a symbol of India’s responsibilities towards the global good,” Modi stated.

On Saturday, the PM unveiled a commemorative stamp and a coin to mark the International Year of Millets. The Indian Institute of Millets Research of ICAR was also declared as a Global Centre of Excellence