NITI Aayog and the World Food Programme (WFP), India, launched the ‘Mapping and Exchange of Good Practices’ initiative for mainstreaming millets in Asia and Africa on 19 July 2022.
The initiative was launched in the presence of NITI Aayog Vice Chairperson Mr Suman Bery, Member Prof. Ramesh Chand, Senior Adviser Dr Neelam Patel, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Joint Secretary Ms. Shubha Thakur, WFP India Representative and Country Director Mr Bishow Parajuli, and National Rainfed Area Authority CEO Dr. Ashok Dalwai.
NITI Aayog VC Mr Suman Bery unveiled the web portal, which invites entries in three categories, namely – millet value chain, millet mainstreaming, and millet recipes and mentioned, “NITI Aayog’s initiative to promote millets will bring about a transformational change in the nutritional status of the country.”
Speaking at the event, Member Dr Ramesh Chand said, “Millets are connected to climate resilience. The need of the hour is to understand that it’s crucial to increase the productivity of millets, which includes R&D, good care of crops and a robust supply chain”
Sr Adviser Dr. Neelam Patel said, “The Mapping and Exchange of Good Practices (MEGP) initiative will present an opportunity for sharing among the Asian & African countries and trigger informed decisions if they wish to scale up/ replicate this idea”.
Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Joint Secretary Ms. Shubha Thakur elaborated on initiatives taken by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare to mainstream millets in the country and added “It is time to see India become a global millets hub. The international year of millets 2023 will be taken up in a campaign mode and would be a transformational one nationally and globally.”
World Food Programme in India Country Director and Representative Mr. Bishow Parajuli added, “With a massive population living with malnutrition, the Asia region is particularly vulnerable to this crisis. This initiative will strengthen efforts towards building capacities through regional cooperation through sharing around millets not just as a crop but an entire approach, linking farm to plate.”
State Governments from Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Sikkim, Uttar Pradesh, and NCT of Delhi shared the status, issues, concerns, challenges faced, best practices and initiatives taken by them in mainstreaming millets. They gave valuable suggestions like demonstration of varieties of millets at KVKs to popularize millets, provide training on traditional cooking methods using millets, blending of millets with wheat flour for better adaptability amongst consumers, making the crop profitable for farmers, incentivizing lifting of produce from farmers at good prices, varietal development, etc. The event saw wide participation, both physically and virtually.
The workshop was also live streamed on the YouTube link