Indian Food Ministry's Move To Popularise Millet
Image Credit: Ragi cookies,

The Food Ministry made the much-needed move to promote millet products. A regulation in this regard was recently published to encourage the consumption of healthful goods in advance of the International Year of Millets, which will be observed in 2023. Products made from millet, such as ragi biscuits, cookies, ladoos, baked millet chips, etc., will be served in its canteen and as refreshments. According to a statement from the Department of Food and Public Distribution, millet-based dosa, idli, and vada should be served in the canteens, and whenever possible, goods made from millet that are readily available locally should be used.

The mandate was released, and the Department of Food and Public Distribution took to its official Twitter handle to announce it. 

According to the aforementioned official statement, eating millet has a range of benefits and aids in managing lifestyle disorders. Millets are great for reducing malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies due to their high density of nutrients, which comprises vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and dietary fibre.

The Food Ministry has been actively encouraging the nation's purchase and consumption of millets in readiness for the International Year of Millet in 2023. It also emphasises the use of millets for distribution in welfare programmes.

2023 International Year of Millet

The Indian government declared the National Year of Millets in 2018. The government included millets in the POSHAN Mission Abhiyan and said them to be Nutri-cereals in the same year. India later presented the idea to the UN to designate 2023 as the International Year of Millets. As a result, India's campaign to promote millet gained the support of 72 other nations. 2023 has been declared the International Year of Millets by the UN General Assembly. Given that India is the world's top millet producer, it was a moment to be proud of for Indian farmers. 80% of Asia's and 20% of the world's production comes from India. 

 Contest to going creative with millets

To spread the word regarding the advantages of millets, the Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, via the MyGov website, has initiated a series of contests. The challenge consists of three components: the Mighty Millet Quiz, the Millet Startup Innovation Challenge, and the developing of a comic narrative challenge. On September 10, 2022, the Millet Startup Innovation Challenge was introduced. This campaign aims to inspire young people to suggest technological and commercial solutions to the millet ecosystem's issues. The challenge remains open till January 31, 2023.