Tomar appealed to G-20 nations to support celebration of Millet Year in 2023 to promote nutrition

India is giving primacy to re-introduction of traditional food items including millet, other nutritious cereals, fruits and vegetables, fish, dairy and organic products in the diet of the people.

This was informed by Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Narendra Singh Tomar during the second day's session of the G-20 Agriculture Ministers' meeting on Sunday.

In his address, through virtual system, Tomar said keeping in mind the importance of Nutri-cereals, the United Nations has accepted the proposal of the Government of India and declared the year 2023 as the International Year of Millets.

He appealed to the nations to support the celebration of Millet Year to promote nutrition and sustainable agriculture.

The Union Minister stated that the agriculture sector in India has achieved great success after independence.

“The Indian agriculture sector remained unaffected even during the COVID pandemic,” Tomar said, expressing his happiness that the various initiatives of the Government of India to keep the Agri-market dynamic along with the Agri-input supply chain during COVID have helped the agriculture sector in better performance.

“During the year 2020-2021, along with an increase in the production of food grains, there has been a significant increase in exports,” he said.

The Union Minister further informed the G-20 Agriculture Ministers that biofortified-varieties are the source of staple diet rich in micronutrients.

“They are being promoted to remove malnutrition. 17 such varieties of different crops have been developed and released for cultivation. The Government of India under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken steps to increase the optimal use of water resources, create infrastructure for irrigation, conserve soil fertility with balanced use of fertilizers, and provide connectivity from farms to markets,” he said.

The Union Minister informed that under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana, the government is providing income support of Rs.6,000 per year to small farmers.

“So far, Rs 1.58 lakh crore has been deposited in the bank accounts of more than 11.37 crore farmers under this scheme. He said that India is fully aware of its commitments on the issues of climate change and several steps have been taken to make agriculture sustainable,” he said.

“The 'Per Drop- More Crop' scheme for irrigation and 'Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana' for organic farming is being successfully implemented. Unfavorable weather affects the production and income of the farmers, in such a situation, the Government of India has implemented the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana to provide insurance cover for the farmers,” the Union Minister said.

To address the malnutrition problem, India is running the world's largest food-based safety net program, which includes the Public Distribution System and the Mid-Day Meal Scheme, he maintained.