The government on Saturday said farmer producer organisations (FPOs) will play a key role in making India a millet hub of the world. The issue was discussed in detail on Friday at the ongoing Dubai Expo as part of India's fortnight event on 'Food, Agriculture and Livelihood'. During the session, senior government officials and sector experts deliberated on opportunities for Indian industry players to enhance the country's export potential.
"We urge start-ups and farmer producer organisations (FPOs) to not only help in upscaling millets' value chain, connecting to domestic and international markets but also to creating an inclusive framework where we take producing communities along," Abhilaksh Likhi, additional secretary in the agriculture ministry, said at the event.
The UN General Assembly has declared 2023 as the 'International Year of Millets', aimed at raising awareness about the health benefits of the grain and its suitability for cultivation under changing climatic conditions.
Shubha Thakur, joint secretary in the agriculture ministry, said, "Keeping in view the International Year of Millets, we are trying to build momentum for the millets campaign by highlighting its nutritional benefits and value chain."
Underlining the nutritional security aspect of millets, Nutrihub Chief Executive Officer B Dayakar Rao said, "Millets have health benefits and can reduce obesity and malnutrition. It is well marked on vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals and it also helps beat hypertension, colon cancer and cardiovascular diseases as it reduces triglycerides present in the body."
He added that now, with the onset of the International Year of Millets, India is ready to lead the world by sharing best practices, technologies, the goodness of millets, and established values and experience with other countries.
Kuntal Sensarma, economic advisor of the Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI), talked about the policy incentives taken in this sector.
Deliberating on upscaling the value chain of millets, National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management (NIFTEM) Director C Anandharamkrishnan said, "There is a need to formalise the unorganised food processing system by providing the FPOs, SHGs (self-help groups) and co-operatives with technical support, credit linkages and ensuring adequate storage capacity to avoid food wastage."
Multiple start-ups and FPOs are participating in the 'Food, Agriculture and Livelihood' fortnight event and displaying their innovative agri-tech solutions and sustainable & healthy millets-based products.
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