The Wheat Products Promotion Society (WPPS) has underscored the need to position wheat as the primary food crop to meet India’s future food requirements.
WPPS, which recently organised a one-day seminar, focused on the role of wheat as a major food crop in India’s pursuit of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)-2 of achieving zero hunger by 2030.
A media statement said to accomplish SDG-2 and ensure long-term food security, the seminar put forth key recommendations for policymakers, industry stakeholders, and research institutions.
The seminar recommended the aggressive promotion of wheat in State-sponsored food programmes. By integrating wheat into these initiatives, India can make significant progress towards achieving zero hunger by 2030 and ensuring food security for its population.
Preference for whole wheat flour
It recommended that the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) promote the consumption of whole wheat flour by the masses, as it offers greater nutritional benefits, and should be preferred over refined flour.
The seminar suggested that bio-fortified wheat varieties or wheat-soy/wheat-pulse composite flours should be utilised to ensure an adequate supply of macro and micronutrients. These approaches enhance the delivery and bio-availability of essential nutrients, addressing nutritional deficiencies in the target population.
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Considering the growing market for convenience foods, the seminar suggested the need to develop speciality flour specifications. These specifications should cater to emerging areas such as frozen doughs, refrigerated and frozen finished goods, and other evolving segments, meeting consumer demands and fostering innovation in the wheat industry.
Meeting consumer expectations
Urging the milling industry to focus on mill consolidation to improve efficiency, quality control, and competitiveness, the seminar recommended that the industry can ensure the production of high-quality wheat flour that meets industry standards and consumer expectations.
Ajay Goyal, Chairman of WPPS, said promotion of wheat and implementation of innovative strategies are essential to address SDG-2 and fulfil India’s future food requirements. By developing newer varieties of wheat, improving the bio-availability of essential micronutrients, and enhancing wheat-legume-based supplementary foods, India can improve the health and wellbeing of the target beneficiaries, he said.