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Saturday / June 22. 2024
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Representatives of women working under Umed from 34 districts across the state attended the event with samples of their produce or farm produce

A state-level ‘Buyer Seller Meet’ was organised at the CIDCO Exhibition Centre in Navi Mumbai by Umed – Maharashtra State Rural Livelihood Mission. The innovative program ‘Buyer Seller Meet’ implemented by Maharashtra State Rural Livelihood Mission to reach out to big companies and buyers will be a milestone. The meet will provide a sustainable market for women’s agricultural and non-agricultural products of Umed Self Help Group. This innovative initiative has received a great response expressed Eknath Dawle, Principal Secretary of the Rural Development Department.

28 agreements were concluded in the presence of representatives of 41 leading chain business companies across the country and representatives of self-help groups and farmers’ women producers’ companies from across the state.

Dawle said, “The Rural Development Department is helping rural women in many ways to become financially independent to make them self-reliant through Umed Abhiyaan. Our women’s products are classy and the best in quality. Now they need to get a permanent market.”

The Principal Secretary appealed to professionals and big companies to come forward and contribute to empowering these women.

Since agriculture is the main occupation of Umed women in rural areas, the main objective of the program was to purchase the agro-based products produced by them in wholesale quantities by different companies or chain traders to get good returns to the farmers. Representatives of women working under Umed from 34 districts across the state attended the event with samples of their produce or farm produce.

In this meet, quality grains and pulses like soybean, chilli, turmeric, tur, gram, maize, millet, ragi, sorghum, spices, jaggery, honey, fruits, herbs, oilseeds etc. products were made available in sample form. Representatives of more than 30 organisations and companies were present as buyers. Buyers’ organisations and representatives of companies showed enthusiasm to sign contracts because of the availability of organic and pure products by women. The interest shown by the buyers in this program will help the women to have a sustainable market in the future.

Representatives of women working under Umed from

Let’s take stock of how impactful the International Year of Millet has been in India so far.

India is the world’s leading producer of millets accounting for over 40 per cent of global production. Andhra Pradesh stood in the first place in the country in millet productivity in 2022, as per the National Bank For Agriculture And Rural Development (NABARD) annual report 2022-23. NABARD has been promoting 22 millet-based farmer producer companies in Andhra Pradesh. These FPCs have nearly 9,970 farmers as members and are engaged in millet-based business activities such as input supply, procurement, providing custom hiring services, and processing and marketing of the millets, among others. In order to provide support to entrepreneurs for recipes and value-added products to promote millet consumption under the International Year of Millet (IYoM) 2023, the Ministry of Agriculture has funded 66 startups with more than Rs 6.25 crore.

A remarkable increase in the number of startups in the millet sector has caught the government’s attention to turn the production and promotion of millet into a mass movement in India and abroad. According to the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), India has witnessed more than 80 startups in the millet sector in the past year and a half. Let’s take stock of how impactful the International Year of Millet has been in India so far.

Plants in the ‘grass’ family are the botanical ancestors of millets. Their history may be traced all the way back to the Indus Valley Civilisation, making them one of the world’s oldest staple foods. 

Millets are the crop of the future as they provide the possibility of higher environmental sustainability and economic prosperity as the global agricultural and food production systems continue to cope with the increasing population. A nutritious alternative to wheat and rice, that doesn’t consume excess natural resources including water, millets don’t need extraneous chemical pesticides or fertilisers. Hence, smallholder farmers can afford to grow them. Millets have a stronger nutritional profile than wheat, rice, and maize, the three most widely produced grains in the world. They have a low glycemic index and are high in nutrients like fibre, protein, vitamins, and minerals.

The World Bank states that between 32 and 132 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia will be plunged into poverty by 2030. Due to their great heat tolerance, capacity to flourish in water-poor and resource-poor soils, and physiological efficiency as C4 plants, millets are ideally suited to play the role of ‘future crops’ in climate resilient agriculture (CSA).

Sharing the broader picture of the millet world, T R Kesavan, Chairman, FICCI National Agriculture Committee and Group President, TAFE stated, “Millets, often referred to as nutri cereals, stand as a beacon of health, nutrition and sustainability. India, a prominent producer and consumer of millets, has risen to the forefront on the global stage by spearheading the International Year of Millets (IYoM). Millet production in India holds multifaceted importance encompassing nutrition, environment and economics. Suited to diverse conditions, millets offer essential nutrients, manage diabetes, enhance food security, conserve biodiversity and symbolise cultural heritage.”

Elaborating further on the topic, Ravinder Balain, President – South Asia Corteva Agriscience said, “2023 is the International Year of Millets. The government’s efforts in recognising the enormous potential of millets to generate livelihoods, increase farmers’ income and ensure food & nutritional security worldwide were crucial to generating the demand of the ‘Sri Anna’. The Department of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare has taken a proactive multi-stakeholder engagement approach (engaging all the central government ministries, states/UTs, farmers, startups, exporters, retail businesses, hotels, Indian Embassies etc.) to achieve the aim of IYoM 2023 and taking Indian millets globally. India’s ambitious plan to increase millet cultivation, consumption, and doubling farmers’ income is a testament to the government’s effort in increasing millet cultivation through several national and state level schemes targeting millet farmers.”

“India is among the top 5 exporters of millet in the world. According to recent data by Trade Map, world export of millet has increased from    $400 million in 2020 to    $470 million in 2021. India exported millets worth    $75.46 million in 2022-23, compared with    $62.95 million in 2021-22. In the past few years and more so in 2023, there has been an increased focus on millet from many startups, large food corporations and other stakeholders in the food chain to bring innovation to this sector with the latest technologies, recipes, and products for domestic and outside consumers. Proactive efforts of the Centre in celebrating IYoM2023 has supported all these efforts from different stakeholders to make Millets a really happening industry,” he added further.

Highlighting more key points, Ajay Bhuwalka, CEO, Urban Monk Pvt. Ltd. said, “Millets are an ancient grain of India and was a staple grain before the green revolution. Most rural parts of the country still consume millet as their staple.  We are very confident that millet will definitely find its way back into urban kitchens due to its immense health benefits. Post-COVID, the consciousness of all people to lead a healthy lifestyle has gone up significantly. Thus, we are very confident that millets will be popularised.”

Echoing similar thoughts, Shashi Kant Singh, Partner, Agriculture and Food Sector, PwC India said, “Millions of farmers across the world depend on millets for livelihood, food and nutrition, with a majority of these crops tracing their origins back to Asia and Africa.” 

Sharing her views on millet cultivation, S B Anuradha, Owner, Amma’s Taste commented, “Pesticides and fertilisers are unnecessary for growing millet. So, there is essentially no harm done to the flora and fauna. There is no need to use preservatives in order to maintain the quality and freshness of millets and millet products. Increased millet cultivation provides additional organic forage for use by mulching animals. The quantity of milk produced is also expected to rise.”

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Let's take stock of how impactful the

The Embassy of India in Kathmandu collaborated with the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock of Nepal to commemorate the International Year of Millet 2023

Beduram Bhushal Agriculture and Livestock Minister of Nepal expressed the country’s readiness to work with India in promoting millet as a staple food due to its high nutritional value.

During an event, Bhushal praised India for their leadership in the millet campaign and the renaming of the grains as ‘Shree Anna’, meaning auspicious grains.

Bhushal highlighted the high nutritional value of millet and its potential as a staple food for promoting health benefits.

The minister emphasised Nepal’s willingness to collaborate with New Delhi in promoting the consumption of millet, a campaign launched by the United Nations at India’s initiative.

In 2021, India proposed to the United Nations to declare 2023 as the International Year of Millets (IYOM). The proposal gained support from 72 countries, and the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) declared 2023 as the International Year of Millets.

The Embassy of India in Kathmandu collaborated with the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock of Nepal to commemorate the International Year of Millet 2023.

Indian Ambassador to Nepal Naveen Shrivastava highlighted the significance of India-Nepal cooperation in agriculture, specifically regarding millet production and market exploration.

The Embassy of India in Kathmandu collaborated

The unit creates new livelihoods and better market access opportunities through value-added groundnut and millet to smallholder farmers in Anantapur

Kakani Govardhan Reddy, Minister for Agriculture & Cooperation, Marketing, Food Processing, Government of Andhra Pradesh, India, inaugurated a secondary processing unit (SPU) set up by ICRISAT-Walmart in Mudulapuram village. The unit creates new livelihoods and better market access opportunities through value-added groundnut, millet, and other nutritious products.

The SPU is approved by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and is expected to benefit over 6,000 smallholder farmers in Anantapur district. The facility which has a built-up area of 1,000 square meters, is operated by the women-led Rythu Nestham Food Producer Company Ltd (RNFPCL).

RNFPCL was established with support from ICRISAT and the Accion Fraterna Ecology Centre (AFEC) and includes farmers from nine FPOs across eight sub-districts (mandals) of Anantapur district. The facility is equipped with five processing lines, which will produce highly nutritious millet- and pulse-based ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat formulations such as traditional khichdi and upma mixes, high oleic groundnut products comprising of nutrition bars (chikki), cookies, snacks and savories, and healthy cold pressed groundnut oil.

“Our government’s priority is to make agriculture more viable and profitable for farming communities. This women-led food processing unit will boost sustainable farming and market access for local agricultural communities, provide employment to women and youth and create new opportunities for community-managed industry through the development of more food processing units.

“We congratulate Walmart Foundation, Flipkart, ICRISAT and AFEC on this initiative, and look forward to more such collaborations in the future,” said Govardhan Reddy.

“The entire infrastructure of the unit will ensure improved livelihoods and better opportunities for smallholder farmers. The launch of this SPU in the district will bring synergy between agriculture and the food processing industry,” said S Nagalakshmi, IAS, Collector and District Magistrate Anantapur, Government of Andhra Pradesh.

The unit creates new livelihoods and better

33 GI agricultural products from 12 states were displayed at the fair

Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) launched a variety of millet products for all age groups at affordable prices ranging from Rs 5 to Rs 15 at the AAHAR food fair.

All the millet products launched by APEDA are gluten-free, 100 per cent natural and patented. The launched products are cream biscuits, salt biscuits, milk biscuits, ragi peanut butter, jowar peanut butter, jowar upma, pongal, khichadi and millet malts (jowar, ragi, bajra).

APEDA also launched a variety of “Millet in Minutes” products under the category of Ready-to-Eat (RTE) such as Upma, Pongal, Khichadi, Noodles, Biryani, etc, which is a breakthrough in the food sector as it’s the first RTE millet product in the market to cater fast-paced world at their convenience in a healthy way.

All the RTE products are vacuum processed without any additives, fillers and preservatives. Nutrition value is retained as original with a shelf-life of 12 months in ambient temperature.

The APEDA is also working in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare to increase cultivation area, production and productivity of millets, including bajra, jowar and ragi.

The 36th edition of AAHAR was jointly organised by APEDA and the India Trade Promotion Organization (ITPO) at Pragati Maidan. In view of the nutritional value of the millets, the government has notified millets as nutri-cereals in April, 2018. The millets are a rich source of protein, fibre, minerals, iron, calcium and have a low glycemic index. In March, 2021, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has declared 2023 as International Year of Millets.

In line with the theme of APEDA’s pavilion, – ‘To promote GI products for export’, the apex body to promote agricultural products put on display 33 GI agricultural products at AAHAR. The APEDA also released two booklets which include a catalogue on Agri and Food GI products (APEDA scheduled) and a brochure on Indian GI mangoes.

The 33 GI products which were on display to attract the attention of over 100 buyers from 40 countries are Punjab’s Basmati Rice, Karnataka’s Gulbarga Tur Dal, Maharashtra’s Sangli Raisin, Kolhapur Jaggery, Ajara Ghansal Rice, Sindhudurg & Ratnagiri Kokum, Vengurla Cashew and Waigaon Turmeric; Assam’s Boka Chaul, Joha Rice, Karbi Anglong Ginger; Manipur’s Chak-Hao and Kachai Lemon, Mizoram’s Ginger and Chilli, Sikkim’s Large Cardamom, Nagaland’s Naga Mircha, Kerala’s Navara Rice, Pokkali Rice, Kaipad Rice, Palakkadan Matta Rice, Himachal Pradesh’s Kala Jeera, Chulli Oil, West Bengal’s Gobindabhog Rice, Tulaipanji Rice, Bardhaman Sitabhog, Bardhaman Mihidana, Banglar Rasogolla, Rajasthan’s Bikaneri Bhujia and Odisha’s Kandhamal Haladi.

AAHAR is a part of the series of export promotion initiatives taken by APEDA, which works under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, to showcase agricultural and processed food products to the global players in the food and beverages industry as the fair is visited by a large number of importers from different parts of the world.

Apart from AAHAR, APEDA also organises national events like Organic World Congress, BioFach India, etc to promote agri-exports. Notably, more than 150 food and agri Products have been registered as GI by the GI Registry till March 2022, out of which 123 GI products fall under APEDA’s category.

Also, APEDA created dedicated stalls for exporters from North East Region (NER) and Himalayan states/UTs like Jammu & Kashmir, Ladakh, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, women entrepreneurs, Farmer Producers Organizations (FPOs), Start-Ups and exporters of millets and millets products. More than 40 participants participated under these categories and each category will have dedicated stalls in the APEDA pavilion.

33 GI agricultural products from 12 states

This new hybrid variety of Bajra will give more benefit to the farmers because this Hybrid gives more fodder with good yield.

Hyderabad based Nuziveedu Seeds Limited Company has released a new Bajra hybrid “Sunmax” through a digital platform in which more than 5000 farmers participated online. The programme was broadcast live on social media such as YouTube and Facebook.

Addressing the farmers, the officials of Nuziveedu Seeds Limited Company highlighted the features of Hybrid Bajra “Sunmax”.

The officials said, “The new hybrid Bajra “Sunmax” matures in 80 to 85 days and remains green till ripening this variety is best for planting in the summer season, the length of the plant of this variety is 7 to 8 feet.” This new hybrid variety of Bajra will give more benefit to the farmers because this Hybrid gives more fodder with good yield and due to the good quality of the grain.

The officials of Nuziveedu Seeds Limited Company encouraged the farmers to do modern scientific farming and informed them about the management of diseases and pests and fertiliser management in time. Nuziveedu Seeds Limited Company’s hybrid Bajra “Sunmax” will benefit the farmers in the summer season with more fodder and more yield.

This new hybrid variety of Bajra will