The Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Shri Radha Mohan Singh has written to the Director General, United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) and proposed the declaration of an upcoming year as “International Year of Millets”. In a letter to Mr Jose Graziano da Silva, Director-General, United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization, Shri Singh said that to garner wider global attention and action, India has mooted a proposal for declaration of an upcoming year as International Year of Millets.
The Union Agriculture Minister stated that India is celebrating 2018 as the National Year of Millets and is promoting cultivation by amending cropping pattern of areas which are especially susceptible to climate change. He further added that government under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been actively promoting millets. Millets are highly nutritious and useful in various lifestyle diseases, enhancing resilience and risk management in face of climate change especially for small and marginal farmers.
Shri Singh further added that the government recently increased the MSP of millets by more than 50 per cent of cost of production which is an important component of efforts to achieve the national commitment of doubling farmers’ income by 2022.
This letter follows his earlier communication to the Secretary General of the UN in November 2017 in this regard. The Minister has requested the inclusion of this proposal in the agenda of the 26th session of the Committee on Agriculture (COAG) meeting, scheduled during October 1-5, 2018 in Rome.
Shri Singh said that adoption of this proposal by FAO with the support of its Member Nations will enable it to be moved to the UNGA for declaration of an upcoming year as International Year of Millets. He said that the matter has received support of the member countries when placed in the Bureau meeting of the committee on agriculture held on July 5, 2018.
“It is highly desirable that global efforts are stepped up to bring these nutri-cereals back to the food basket of a wide range of consumers, rural and urban as well as rich and poor, for boosting their production as well,” he added.