Hyderabad: The largest producer of millets in the world, India, will launch a campaign to promote these ‘nutri-cereals’ across the country on September 28. The move was announced by Dr. Ashok Dalwai, IAS, CEO, National Rainfed Area Authority at the Indian Institute of Millets Research here at the meeting to prepare a roadmap for the national millet mission.
The Union Agriculture Minister, Radha Mohan Singh will formally flag off the campaign in Pune which will be followed by a series of activities over the next few months.
Calling it a ‘historic’ day, Dr. Dalwai said, “We need to place something on a pedestal to gain support. The mission will include a focus on resource-poor farmers and the nutrition status of the country. However, we should ensure that the national campaign retains the advantages of millets as climate-smart and environment-friendly crops. Our decisions can lead to a new Green Revolution” he said.
Announcing plans for seed hubs for all millets, Dr. B Rajender, IAS, Joint Secretary, National Food Security Mission said, “The State governments will be involved in a big way. Communication plans will be rolled out from the local levels to scale up the campaign.”
Sharing details of the roadmap for the national millet mission, Dr. Vilas A Tonapi, Director, Indian Institute of Millets Research (IIMR) shared data on how the productivity of millets has shown a good increase across the country.
The activities throughout the year would be spearheaded by IIMR in partnership with International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), State Agricultural Universities (SAU), National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) and many other non-governmental, private and international organisations. Dr. B Dayakar Rao, Principal Scientist IIMR presented details of the ‘roadmap’ of activities for India’s Year of Millets.
Talking about linking farming and markets, Dr. Kiran K Sharma, Deputy Director General (Research), ICRISAT said, “By simply grading, cleaning and packaging, farmers can double their income from millets. Now, there is a high demand and price for millets in the market,” he said.
A number of people, including representatives from government research institutions, non-governmental organisations, scientists, processors and private companies participated in the day-long consultation.
At the open session in the meeting, all participants shared their ideas and inputs for the roadmap for implementation of the millet mission. Ideas range from the requirement for high-tech machinery to addressing shelf-life of millets to need for more research allocation to add to the campaign.
A book of recipes in Hindi for millet based cuisine was released on the occasion. A MoU that had been signed between Nourish Inc technology and IIMR on licencing of millet value-added products was also formally handed over at the programme.