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The Millet Mission 2023

International Year of Millets (IYOM) 2023

  • On March 3, 2021, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted a resolution to
    declare 2023 as the International Year of Millets.

    • The proposal was moved by India and was supported by 72 countries.
  • Significance:
    • IYOM will provide an opportunity to increase global production, efficient processing and better use of crop rotation and promote millets as a major component of the food basket.
    • Last month, the FAO launched the IYOM in Italy and highlighted that the promotion of millets aligns with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) — 1, 3, 8, 12, 13 and 15.
  • Political significance for India: Millet is grown mainly in low-income and developing countries in Asia and Africa, and is part of the food basket of about 60 crore people across the globe.
    • By proposing the resolution to celebrate 2023 as the International Year of Millets, India pitched itself as a leader of this group.
    • This is similar to the Indian initiative on the 121-nation International Solar Alliance.


About Millets

  • Millets are part of a group of small-grained cereal crops used as both food and fodder. About 6,000 varieties of these grains with varying colours exist around the world.
  • Historical background: They were among the first crops to be domesticated.
    • There is even evidence of the consumption of millet in the Indus Valley Civilization.
    • Hanging Gardens of Babylon apparently included millet among their treasured plants.


Advantages of Millets

The Millet Mission 2023_4.1

The Millet Mission 2023_5.1

  • Global production: Presently, millets are grown in more than 130 countries and consumed as a traditional food by over half a billion people across Asia and Africa.
    • Globally, sorghum (jowar) is the biggest millet crop.
    • The major producers of jowar are the United States, China, Australia, India, Argentina, Nigeria, and Sudan


India and Millets

  • In India, millets are mainly a kharif crop.
  • Production: India is the largest producer of millet in the world with a share of 41% in 2020, as per FAO.
    • Nine types are grown as kharif crops in over 20 States in the country.
    • Rajasthan, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh are leading producers.
    • For the year 2021-22, about 16 million tonnes millets have been produced in India, which is about 5 percent of the national food grain basket.
    • Bajra has the highest market share, followed by jowar.
  • MSP for Millets: The government declares a Minimum Support Price (MSP) for jowar, bajra and ragi only.
  • Target for procurement: The government has set a target to procure 13.72 LMT coarse grains during the Kharif Marketing Season (KMS) 2022-23, more than double procured during KMS 2021-22.
  • Main millet states: Jowar is mainly grown in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu,
    Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, and Madhya Pradesh.

    • Bajra is mainly grown in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka.
  • Consumption patterns: In the latest available NSSO household consumption expenditure survey, less than 10 per cent of rural and urban households reported consumption of millets.
    • State-wise: Gujarat (jowar and bajra), Karnataka (jowar and ragi), Maharashtra (jowar and bajra), Rajasthan (bajra), and Uttarakhand (ragi).


India’s Efforts to Promote Millets

  • Rebranding as ‘Nutri-Cereals’: Millets were earlier referred to as “coarse cereals” or “cereals of the poor”. The Union government renamed these as “nutri-cereals” owing to their high nutritional value.
  • National year of millets: The Union government declared 2018 as the ‘national year of millets’ to trigger an increase in demand.
  • Initiative for Nutritional Security through Intensive Millets Promotion (INSIMP): A sub-scheme of Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) between 2011 and 2014. The scheme aims to catalyze increased production of millets in the country.
  • Millets under PDS:
    • Under the National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013, eligible households are entitled to get rice, wheat, and coarse grain at Rs 3, Rs 2, and Re 1 per kg respectively.
    • There is a need to shift the focus of distribution programs from basic calories to provide a more diverse food basket to improve the nutritional status of pre-school children and women of reproductive age.
  • NFSM: Under the National Food Security Mission (NFSM), nutritious cereal component for Millets
    is being implemented in 212 districts of 14 States.
  • POSHAN Mission: Millet has also been included under POSHAN Mission campaign.
  • Start-Ups: India has more than 500 start-ups in millet value additional food chain. The
    government’s Indian Institute of Millets Research has incubated 250 startups.

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Which year is International Year of Millets?

On March 3, 2021, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted a resolution to declare 2023 as the International Year of Millets

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