India is using its G20 presidency to promote the consumption of millets

With India going all out to promote the consumption of millets while organising events during its ongoing G20 presidency, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has highlighted the role played by 'milletpreneurs' in this regard.

"You must have heard the word entrepreneur, but have you heard Milletpreneurs? Milletpreneurs of Odisha are in the limelight these days," he remarked during the first Mann ki Baat broadcast of 2023 on Sunday.

The Prime Minister went on to recount the work being done by a Self Help Group of about 1500 women of the tribal district Sundergarh is associated with the Odisha Millets Mission. "Here women are making everything from millets… to cookies, rasgulla, gulab jamun, and even cakes. Due to their great demand in the market, the income of women is also increasing," he said in the 97th episode of Mann ki Baat.

Another example Prime Minister Modi highlighted was that of the Aland Bhootai (Aland Bhutai) Millets Farmers Producer Company. It started work last year under the supervision of the Indian Institute of Millets Research in Kalaburgi, Karnataka.

"People are liking the khakra, biscuits and laddoos here. In Karnataka's Bidar district, women associated with the Hulsoor Millet Producer Company are cultivating millets as well as preparing their flour. Through this, their earnings have also increased a lot," he explained.

Similarly, farmers from 12 states have joined the FPO of Chhattisgarh's Sandeep Sharma, who is associated with natural farming, Prime Minister Modi noted. This FPO of Bilaspur is making 8 types of millets flour and their dishes.

According to Prime Minister Modi, during events related to the G-20 Summit being held all over India under India's ongoing presidency, nutritious and tasty dishes made from millets are included in it. Dishes like Bajra-khichdi, poha, kheer and roti, as well as Ragi-based payasam, puri and dosa are also served, he pointed out

Additionally, health drinks, cereals and noodles made from millets were being showcased in the Millets Exhibitions at all G20 venues. Indian Missions around the world were also making a lot of efforts to increase their popularity, he added.

During the broadcast, Prime Minister Modi also established a special connection between International Yoga Day and the International Year of Millets.

"My dear countrymen, if I ask you, what is common between Yoga Day and our different types of coarse grains - Millets, then you might think…what is this comparison? If I say that both have a lot in common, you will be surprised. In fact, the United Nations has taken the decision of both International Yoga Day and International Year of Millets after India's proposal."

He went on to highlight that both yoga and millet are linked to health. He emphasized that just as people have embraced yoga and fitness through active engagement, millets are also becoming a popular grain among people.

According to the Prime Minister, just as people have made yoga and fitness a part of their lives by taking active participation on a large scale; they are also adopting millets on a large scale. People were now making millets a part of their diet, he remarked.

Because of this, the small farmers who traditionally used to produce millets are very excited, Prime Minister Modi pointed out. On the other hand, he added, FPOs and entrepreneurs have started efforts to market millets and make them available to people.

At the suggestion of the Indian government, the United Nations declared 2023 as the International Year of Millets last year. The peoposal from the Narendra Modi government received support from 72 other nations.

The Prime Minister emphasised on the need to make IYM a "people's movement" while promoting India as the "global hub for millets." With the start of the International Year of Millets (IYM) 2023, India has several events scheduled all across the country related to the promotion of millets as a healthy part of the diet.