Fruit rising, As the importance of millets grows, efforts must be made to promote them

Since millet plays a vital role in the nation’s nutrition and food security, food stakeholders, including financial institutions, are considering continuing current efforts to promote high sales of the grain. Bharat Biotech Chairman Krisha Ella raised this issue. on the exemption of  millet products from GST, which received support from councilors. This was a common theme that ran through the NABARD Business Millet Conclave 2023  in Hyderabad on Friday. Any waiver of GST could increase consumption. The conclave also saw experts calling for initiatives to encourage farmers to grow millets. Other highlights were informing consumers about the affordable price of millets and using social media to promote their exports.  

Inaugurating the conclave, NABARD president Shaji K V said the country aims to produce 45 million tonnes of millet by 2030 from the current  17 million tonnes. “We are trying to bring back the millet area that has declined,” said Shaji. India’s share of world millet production is 41 percent. “Millet plays a key role  in the country’s food security. Since food security is not a major issue now, we are looking at sustainability,” Shaji said at the event, which was partnered by APEDA and Too Good. Indian Council of Agricultural Research Director General Himanshu Pathak said in a virtual call that millet has lost its luster as more rice and wheat have been produced since the Green Revolution. Global millet production is about 100 million tons from about 80 million hectares. 

 In a virtual call, APEDA president Abhishek Dev said India plans to export millets worth $100 million  by 2025. In the fiscal year 2022-23, millet exports were $75.43 million. Experts have found that encouragement of millet farmers, innovations in agronomy and focus on marketing are key factors in increasing production and consumption. Stakeholders also found that using a millet mark increased exports.  “We need to mark our mill to better exploit export opportunities,” said Millets Bank director Vishala Reddy. Reddy said the key approaches to the tap export market are capacity building to enter new markets,  higher value advertising, use of Indian millet branding, traceability and R and D seeding.

 Tara Satyavati, Director, Millets Research Institute of India, although many millet-based products like biscuits have entered the market, there was a need to include millets in the basic diet. He urged the industry to invest in R&D for innovative products based on jowar and bajra, for which there was a lot of scope in the market. Dr. Devraj JP, Scientist, Department of Clinical Epidemiology, in his presentation said that the government has started providing millions to athletes and it has shown positive results. He said millet-based food was introduced in hostels and sports colleges.

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