Terming millets as part of India’s ‘Super Food Bucket’, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said that the nutri-rich coarse grain will also reach every corner of the world just as Yoga did. “In India, we have given it (millets) the identity of Sri Anna. On the initiative of India, today once again an awareness campaign regarding millets has started in the world. I believe that just as International Yoga Day took Yoga to every corner of the world, now Millets will also reach every corner of the world,” PM Modi said after inaugurating the three-day World Food India 2023 here in the national capital.
Millets are also the most secure crops for small farmers as they are resilient and climate-adaptable in both hot and drought environments. India produces all the nine commonly known traditional millets viz. Sorghum, Pearl Millet, Finger Millet, Foxtail Millet, Proso Millet, Little Millet, Barnyard Millet, Browntop Millet and Kodo Millet. Millet is a common term for categorizing small-seeded grasses that are often called Nutri-cereals. Most of the states in India grow one or more millet crop species. The government of India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi spearheaded the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolution for declaring the year 2023 as the International Year of Millets and the proposal of India was supported by 72 countries.
In his address, PM Modi said India not only has cultural diversity but also a rich variety of cuisines. This food diversity, according to him, serves as a dividend for investors around the globe. “There is as much cultural diversity in India as there is food diversity. Our food diversity is a dividend for every investor in the world. Today, the way curiosity towards India has increased in the whole world, it has also brought a huge opportunity for all of you,” PM Modi said.
India is rapidly urbanising, and with the increase in employment opportunities, the demand for packaged food is also on the rise. “To align with these ambitious policies, your plans should be equally ambitious. In the food processing sector, there are three main factors contributing to its success: small farmers, small industries, and women,” PM Modi said.
In the past nine years, the export of processed food has increased by 150 per cent, PM Modi told the gathering. “Today, our agri-exports have reached the 7th rank globally. In the food sector, there is no field in which India has not made progress. This growth might seem rapid, but it is the result of consistent and dedicated efforts. During our government’s tenure, India has, for the first time, implemented an agri-export policy. We have established a network of logistics and infrastructure throughout India,” he noted.
The World Food India featured regional cuisines and royal culinary heritage, wherein over 200 chefs would participate and present traditional Indian cuisine, making it a unique culinary experience. The event aims to showcase India as the ‘food basket of the world’ and celebrate 2023 as the International Year of Millets.
The event is poised to host participants from over 80 countries, including CEOs of prominent food processing companies. It will also feature a Reverse Buyer Seller Meet, with over 1200 overseas buyers from more than 80 countries. The Netherlands will serve as the partner country, while Japan will be the event’s focus country.