On March 18, 2023, the two-day Global Millets (Shree Anna) Conference 2023 was formally inaugurated by Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi at Subramaniam Hall, National Agriculture Science Complex (NASC), Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) Campus, PUSA New Delhi, Delhi, to promote millets exports from India and give producers access to the market.
- Indian millets are popularly referred to as “Shree Anna” in the international market.
The conference was organised by the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI).
- The conference intends to bring together nutritionists, health experts, policymakers, business leaders, international speakers, and key stakeholders to discuss millet consumption, health benefits, research, innovations, sustainability, and transforming the food system.
Global Millets (Shree Anna) Conference 2023
i.The conference had sessions on all important issues related to millets (Shree Anna) like promotion and awareness of millets among producers, consumers and other stakeholders; millets’ value chain development; health and nutritional aspects of millets; market linkages; research and development etc.
ii.The conference included sessions on all significant issues relating to millets (Shree Anna), such as market linkages, research and development, and promotion of millets among producers, consumers, and other stakeholders.
- Rajesh Bhushan, Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), Manoj Ahuja, Secretary, Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare (DA&FW), Dr. Himanshu Pathak, Secretary, Department of Agricultural Research and Education (DARE) & Director General, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), and G. Kamala Vardhana Rao, CEO, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).
- Virtual participation of Ms. Sahle-Work Zewde, President of Ethiopia, and Dr. Mohd Irfaan Ali, President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana; various Agriculture Ministers of millet-producing and -importing countries, including Gambia, Guyana, Niger, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, the Maldives, and Mauritius.
- Participants from academia, industry, and development organisations including the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund), India, and Krishi Vigyan Kendras were also present.
Other Related Events:
i.The PM inaugurated and visited the Exhibition cum Buyer-Seller-Meet Pavilion during the occasion.
ii.He also unveiled a commemorative coin and commemorative stamp.
iii.Following this, the PM launched a digital compendium of Indian millet (Shri Anna) startups and a millet book, “Shree Anna: A Holistic Overview,” based on millet standards developed by the FSSAI.
iv.He also designated the Indian Institute of Millets Research (IIMR) of ICAR, located in Hyderabad (Telangana), as a Global Center of Excellence (CoE).
i.The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) formally declared 2023 the International Year of Millets (IYM) following sustained efforts by India.
- The Global Millets (Shree Anna) Conference 2023 in India is a significant programme in this context.
ii.IYM 2023 becomes a “people’s movement” with the launch of “India’s Millet Mission: The Campaign for Shri Anna,” which establishes India as the “global hub for millets.”
i.Since ancient times, millets have been a staple of Indian culture. They are resilient to climate change and are simple to cultivate even in adverse climatic conditions.
ii.Its relatively low water requirements make it a favoured crop for regions with shortage of water.
iii.Millets can be cultivated naturally and without chemicals, protecting both human and soil health.
Indian Millets – Shree Anna
i.In India, millets are largely grown in 12–13 different states and a wide range of millets are grown in major millet-growing regions including Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, etc.
- Pearl Millet, Sorghum, Finger Millet, and minor millets such as Proso Millet, Kodo Millet, Little Millet, Foxtail Millet, Browntop Millet, Barnyard Millet, Amaranthus, and Buckwheat are widely grown in India.
ii.The National Food Security Mission (NFSM) of the Indian government includes promoting millet cultivation.
India’s Millet Mission – The campaign for Shri Anna
i.Millets were designated nutritional cereals in 2018 in order to turn Shree Anna into a global movement, and efforts were made on all levels, from educating farmers about the benefits to stimulating commercial interest.
- Formerly, at-home consumption per person per month did not exceed 3 kilograms (kg), but it currently averages 14 kg per month.
ii.Under the “One District, One Product” scheme, millets have also been selected in 19 districts across the country.
iii.For the first time since independence, the Indian Government is offering assistance for 2.5 crore small farmers who grow millets as part of the campaign initiative.
iv.In order to accomplish its USD 100 million targets by 2025, the APEDA has created an effective strategy to broaden the global basket with millets and value-added products.
India’s Millet Statistics
i.India produced 17.96 million metric tonnes (MMT) of millets.
ii.India exports millets to 139 countries all over the world.
- Millet exports in India are estimated to be worth USD 64 million in 2021-22.
iii.In 2011-12, the major importing countries were the United States (US), Australia, Japan, and Belgium.
iv.In 2021-22, the top three importers of millets from India are: Nepal (USD 6.09 million), the United Arab Emirates (USD 4.84 million), and Saudi Arabia (USD 3.84 million).
- Libya, Tunisia, Morocco, the United Kingdom, Yemen, Oman, and Algeria make up the top ten list of India’s millet export destinations.
v.In the recent 10 years, Kenya and Pakistan were also prospective import destinations for India.
vi.The sale of millet-based food products has increased by almost 30%.
vii.Millets account for only 5-6% of India’s national food basket.
FSSAI holds brainstorming sessions on the sidelines of Two-day Global Millets (Shree Anna) Conference
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) organised a symposium with technical sessions on the promotion and awareness of millets in conjunction with the World Millets (Shree Anna) Conference 2023.
Note: G. Kamala Vardhana Rao is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of FSSAI.
Follow up events/sessions held
i.The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) organized a conference on the health and nutritional benefits of millets.
- Mr. Jong-Jin Kim, Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Asia-Pacific, FAO, delivered a special address during the session.
ii.The significance of millet as a superfood was addressed during the second session of the conference.
iii.During the conference’s third session, renowned athletes shared their perspectives on the theme “Unleashing benefits of millets and well-being,” including former Indian cricket team captain Kapil Dev, Commonwealth Games Gold Medallist Wrestler Geeta Phogat, Athletics Champion Anju Bobby George, Chief National Coach of the Indian Badminton team Pullela Gopichand, and Former Chief Selector of the Indian Cricket Team MSK Prasad.
Recent Related News:
i.In February 2023, the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Lulu Hypermarket LLC to promote the export of millets to the Countries of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
ii.APEDA aims to promote millet products and value-added products around the world in association with Lulu Group, which is an international retail hypermarket chain that operates stores and shopping malls across Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, Egypt, India and Far East.
About Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI):
Union Minister – Piyush Goyal (Rajya Sabha – Maharashtra)
Ministers of State (MoS) – Anupriya Patel; Som Parkash