The Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’
Welfare, Shri Radha Mohan Singh has written to Mr. Jose Graziano da Silva, the
Director General, United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) and
proposed the declaration of an upcoming year as “International Year of
The 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 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.
In an earlier communication to the Secretary General
of the UN in November 2017, the Minister had requested him to include 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.
Generally, the millets are small-grained, annual,
warm-weather cereals belonging to grass family. They are highly tolerant to
extreme weather conditions such as drought and are nutritious compared to the
major cereals such as rice and wheat. They contain low phytic acid and are rich
in dietary fiber, iron, calcium, and B vitamins. Moreover, these millets
release sugar slowly in the blood and also diminish the glucose absorption.
These properties of the minor millets have made the present consumers attracted
to the consumption of millet.