Union Minister for Agriculture & Farmers Welfare Radha Mohan Singh on 22 November 2017 sent a proposal to United Nations (UN) for declaring the year 2018 as ‘International Year of Millets’.
If accepted by UN, the proposal will raise awareness about millets among consumers, policy makers, industry and Research and Development sector. This will directly benefit the future generations of farmers as well as consumers.
As per the government, Millets are Smart Food as they are 'Good for You, Good for the Farmer and Good for the Planet'.
All about Millets
• Millet is a common term that categorize small-seeded grasses termed as 'Nutri-Cereals' or 'Dryland-Cereals'.
• These nutri-cereals are sorghum, pearl millet, ragi, small millet, foxtail millet, proso millet, barnyard millet, kodo millet and other millets.
• Millet is an important staple cereal crop for millions of dryland farmers across Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.
• Millets offer nutrition, income and livelihood for farmers even in difficult times.
• They can be used in various forms such as food, feed, fodder, biofuels and brewing.
• They are nutritionally superior to wheat & rice as they have higher levels of protein with more balanced amino acid profile, crude fiber & minerals such as Iron, Zinc, and Phosphorous.
• They can offer nutritional security and act as a shield against nutritional deficiency, especially among children and women.
• Some major deficiencies such as anaemia (iron deficiency), B-complex vitamin deficiency, pellagra (niacin deficiency) can be dealt easily with intake of less expensive but nutritionally rich millets.
• Millets can also help tackle health challenges such as obesity, diabetes and lifestyle problems as they are gluten free, have a low glycemic index and are high in dietary fibre and antioxidants.
• Moreover, in times of climate change, they will be the last crop standing and will be a good risk management strategy for resource-poor marginal farmers.
Who: Union Government
When: 22 November 2017