National Conference on Millets on the theme ‘The Future Super Food for India’
Recently, the Ministry of Food Processing Industries has inaugurated the National Coarse Cereals Conference on the theme ‘The Future Super Food for India’.
Coarse grains are a group of grasses with small seeds. It is produced for human consumption as a grain/food crop or as fodder.
Due to being rich in nutrients like protein, vitamin-A, iron and iodine, they are called superfoods.
It is a crop grown in Kharif season (July to October). Bajra, finger millet/ragi (cereal), and jowar are Kharif crops.
Agro-climatic conditions: These crops are grown in well-drained loamy soils in arid and semi-arid regions of Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Rajasthan etc.
Importance of Millets
- Its cultivation does not require much mechanization. It can tolerate drought. It takes less time to prepare the crop. This helps in meeting the demand for food.
- It is used as both food and fodder as a mixed farming system.
- Traditionally it is related to tribal farming practice. like; Ragi Habba festival of Karnataka.
- It has the ability to store carbon. It is helpful in climate adaptation for food security.
Government first for coarse cereals-
- Integrated Cereals Development Programme: It aims at increasing the overall productivity under specific crop based systems.
- Initiative for Nutritional Security through Intensive Millets Promotion (INSIMP)
It has the following objectives-
- Bringing 5 lakh hectares of land under coarse cereals cultivation,
- To supply hybrid seeds, and to set up mixed coarse grain processing units.
- Coarse cereals are included under the Public Distribution System.
India is the 5th largest exporter of coarse cereals globally. India’s share in the total global coarse cereals production in the year 2020 was around 41%. The government had declared the year 2018 as the National Year of Coarse Cereals. The Food and Agriculture Organization will observe 2023 as the International Year of Coarse Cereals.
Source – The Hindu