Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said millets may assist handle concerns of food security as well as dietary habits and encouraged agricultural scientists to strive towards expanding the percentage of nutri-cereals in the national food basket. Addressing the gathering after inaugurating the ‘Global Millets (Shri Anna) Conference’, he said it is a matter of great pride for the country that following India’s suggestion and efforts, the United Nations named 2023 ‘International Year of Millets’.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said India is continually trying to promote millets or Shri Anna as a worldwide movement.

Stressing that millets can be cultivated readily in harsh climatic circumstances and without chemicals and fertilizers, the prime minister said India’s millets mission would assist 2.5 crore small and marginal farmers in the nation.

Stating that the government has introduced a production-linked incentive (PLI) plan for the food processing industry, he advised enterprises to take advantage of the initiative to enhance the production of millet-based goods.

Realizing the significance of millets or Nutri-cereals, and establishing a local and global demand along with supplying nutritious food to the people, India sponsored the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolution for proclaiming the year 2023 as the International Year of Millets.

The request of India was backed by 72 nations, and UNGA recognized 2023 as the International Year of Millets in March 2021.

Millet is a common term to categorize small-seeded grasses that are often termed nutri-cereals or dryland-cereals and includes Sorghum (Jowar), Pearl Millet (Bajra), Finger Millet (Ragi), Little Millet (Kutki), Foxtail Millet (Kakun), Proso Millet (Cheena), Barnyard Millet (Sawa), Kodo Millet (Kodon) and other millets.

India produces more than 170 lakh tonnes of millet, which is 80 percent of Asia’s and 20 percent of world output. Whereas the worldwide average yield of millet is 1,229 kg/hectare, the output in India is 1,239 kg/ha.

The prime minister also introduced a bespoke postal stamp and Rs 75 currency coin for the International Year of Millets (IYMI)-2023.