Assam taking steps to expand and increase millet cultivation 
Awareness Program on Millet Exports Cum Buyer Seller Meet

Guwahati: With 2023 being declared as the International Year of Millets( IYOM), the Centre has decided to make it a people’s movement so that Indian millets, recipes, and value-added products are accepted globally.

Experts from central ministries and state governments spoke on the importance of millets and the need to increase millet-based value products.

More than 100 officials and experts attended an Awareness Program on Millet Exports Cum Buyer Seller Meet, which was organised by the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) in association with the Federation of Industry & Commerce of North Eastern Region (FINER) recently in Guwahati.

Sunita Rai, regional head-NER of APEDA, spoke on the United Nations General Assembly’s adoption of an India-sponsored resolution to mark 2023 as the International Year of Millets.  

“The main millet-growing states in India are Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh. However, the production of millets in the northeastern states is very low. States like Assam have initiated the Assam Millets Mission (AMM) for a period of seven years starting 2022-23,” she said.

India is one of the leading producers of millets in the world with an estimated share of around 41 percent in global production. As per FAO, world production of millets in the year 2020 was 30.464 million metric tons (MMT) and India’s share was 12.49 MMT, which accounts for 41 percent of the total millet production. India recorded 27 percent growth in millet production in 2021-22 as compared to millet production in the previous year was 15.92 MMT.

India’s top five millet-producing states are Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat, and Madhya Pradesh. The share of export of millets is nearly 1% of the total millets production. Exports of millets from India include mainly whole grain and the export of value-added products of millets from India is negligible.

India’s major millet exporting countries are U.A.E, Nepal, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Oman, Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, the UK, and the USA. The varieties of millets exported by India include bajra, ragi, canary, jawar, and buckwheat.

The major millet-importing countries in the world are Indonesia, Belgium, Japan, Germany, Mexico, Italy, the U.S.A, the United Kingdom, Brazil, and the Netherlands.

However, it is estimated that the millets market is set to grow from its current market value of more than USD 9 billion to over USD 12 billion by 2025.

Millets are a collective group of small-seeded annual grasses that are grown as grain crops, primarily on marginal land in dry areas of temperate, subtropical, and tropical regions. It is grown in 131 countries and they are the traditional food for 59 crore people in Asia and Africa.

Millets have superior nutritional values in comparison to highly consumed cereals such as rice and wheat. Millets are rich in calcium, iron, and fibers that help in fortifying essential nutrients for healthy growth in children. Also, the usage of millets in infant food and nutrition products is increasing

The Centre has taken steps for mass awareness that include ministries to serve only millet snacks next year, chefs to give online training modules – build up to one platform for sharing dishes, appeal to eat millets at least once a week, food influencers to share best experiences with millets, buffets at hotels to have millet focus at least one millet dish during 2023 and each state has been asked to adopt one millet. 

To promote the shipment of nutri-cereals, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry through its apex agricultural export promotion body, Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), has prepared a comprehensive strategy to promote Indian millet exports across the globe commencing December 2022.

APEDA authority member from Assam Jyotish Talukdar spoke on the opportunities in millet production in Assam. He informed that the state government has been intensely pursuing the farmers with the view to expanding and increasing millet cultivation in the state and the government has initiated Assam Millet Mission 2022-23 across the state. 

He requested APEDA, National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC),  NABARD, Assam Govt, and FINER to join hands and work together to make this millet mission a success.

Joseph Sebestian, Regional Director, NCDC, who was also present in the meeting, requested all the farmers present in the meeting to join the farmer-producer organisations to get the benefits of NCDC schemes.

The program was followed by technical sessions from APEDA, National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management (NIFTEM), and APART followed by a buyer-seller meet. About 150 participants participated in the event.

Also read | Gadkari meets Assam Governor; discusses infra projects

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