(March 5, 2023) Millets are in vogue around the world, with India doubling down to promote the nutrient-rich grain. People are using it more often in their kitchens, and Indian restaurants across the globe have been offering millet specific menus. The enthusiasm has only heightened with 2023 being declared the International Year of Millets (IYM) by the United Nations, upon India’s proposal.
India wants to establish itself as a global hub for millets – knowing that the cereal crop can help the world confront some of the challenges like the increased demand of food due to the growing population, and the impact of climate change on agriculture. Observer Research Foundation (ORF), a global think tank, pointed out, “millets are climate friendly because it uses seventy percent less water than paddy, grows in half the time taken by wheat, and needs forty percent less energy in processing. It’s a hardy crop that can withstand extreme heat condition.” The cereals help increase nutritional levels across the world.
According to the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organisation:
As the global agrifood systems face challenges to feed an ever-growing global population, resilient cereals like millets provide an affordable and nutritious option, and efforts need to be scaled up to promote their cultivation.
The largest producer of millets in the world, India is right on spot to work on the global need of the hour and increase its millet exports.
The Indian diaspora has responded well to the Indian government’s international outreach efforts and its concerted push to boost the consumption of millets around the globe, among Indian and non-Indian communities. Global Indian turns the spotlight onto how the Indian diaspora is celebrating the International Year of Millets and lending a helping hand in making India’s ‘Millet Mission’ popular.
Millet Mission in Vancouver, Canada
The Consulate General of India in Vancouver organised a presentation on Indian millets to a gathering of distinguished stakeholders, including the business community, diplomatic corps, investors, bankers and the media. Consul General, S. Manish, made a detailed presentation outlining the significance of India’s leadership role in the IYM 2023, the country’s multifarious connect with millets, its health benefits, and how the International Year of Millets fulfils the sustainable development goals, positioning India as the global hub for millets.
They discussed investment opportunities in the millet ecosystem with the Vancouver community, with presentations on the agricultural, nutritional and commercial aspects of millet consumption. PM Modi’s video message on IYM2023 was also screened. Guests were treated with a millet-based meal.
Millet Mission in Tokyo, Japan
Ambassador Sibi George, state minister of agriculture, forestry and fisheries of Japan, Takaaki Katsumata, and Eriko Hibi, director, FAO liaison office in Tokyo inaugurated the millet exhibition and seminar on ‘Harvesting the Potential: A Millet Celebration’ to celebrate the International Year of Millets 2023.
The event showcased health benefits and role of millets in ensuring food security along with its culinary potential. The exhibition was organized with support from Indian Restaurant Association in Japan, and featured both Indian and Japanese dishes prepared from millets.
Millet Mission in Guangzhou, China
Consulate General of India, Guangzhou organized an event during its ‘Special Focus Week’ on International Year of Millets 2023 at India House. The event was attended by members of the Diplomatic Corps and Friends of India. Consul General, Shambhu L Hakki, shared Government of India’s initiatives. His speech was followed by a talk on the health benefits of millets by Christina Gui, a renowned Chinese dietician.
An Indian chef from a local restaurant did a live cooking demonstration of Indian dishes. The demonstration was streamed live on the Consulate’s social media channels. Samples of millets grown in India were also exhibited along with their nutritional properties and health benefits. The event concluded with a lunch of Indian delicacies made from millets.
Millet Mission in Suriname, South America
An Indian booth to boost consumption of millets was set up at the Agro-Fest 2023 held at Queen’s Park, Barbados, with prime minister Mia Amor Mottley in attendance, along with the ministers of finance, economic Affairs and investment, national security and public service. Indian booth volunteers discussed benefits of millets with the dignitaries who showed interest in cultivating them in Barbados.
Nicolla Simone Rudder, permanent secretary at the ministry of foreign affairs and foreign trade of Barbados, and Barbados Agriculture Society supported the Indian diaspora’s initiatives. Hundreds of visitors visited the booth.
Millet Mission in Togo, Africa
The Embassy of India in Lomé, in partnership with AISECT and Lomé University celebrated the International Year of Millets at Lomé University campus. A stall was set up and various millet products were displayed. Several university students and faculty members visited the stall.
A quiz on millet products was held for university students. The event helped raise awareness about the nutritional benefits of the use of millet products. Informative standees about the International Year of Millets were displayed to create more awareness about the millet mission.
Millet Mission in Birmingham, United Kingdom
Consulate General of India, Birmingham celebrated the Year of Millets 2023 at the Consulate with a delectable three-day food show exhibiting the nutritious benefits for Bajra, Jowar and other millet grains. Members of the diaspora, and investors in the Midlands participated in the event and savoured the delicacies. Discussions were held around millets – the future of food and farming.
Did you know?
- There are many varieties of millets. Some of them are – pearl millet (bajra), finger millet (ragi), buckwheat millet (kuttu), and barnyayard millet (sanwa).
- According to Agriculture and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), India exported $64.28 million worth of millets in the year 2021-22.
- As part of its ‘Millet Mission’ the Government of India has funded 66 millet focused startups with investment exceeding ₹6 crore.
- Millets are gluten-free, non-allergenic, great source of nutrition, high in fibre, vitamins, minerals and proteins, and nutritionally superior to major cereals leading to boost in immunity. It also contains anti diabetic properties.
- Millets can be cooked whole as porridge or ground into flour to make breads, cakes, pasta, and other flour based delicacies.