NEW DELHI : In order to provide support to startup entrepreneurs for recipes and value-added products to promote millet consumption under the International Year of Millet (IYOM) 2023, the Ministry of Agriculture funded 66 startups with more than Rs. 6.25 crores, said Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Narendra Singh Tomar on Thursday. 

Addressing the Delhi based High Commissioners/Ambassadors at the pre-launch celebration of the IYOM 2023, the minister said that 25 more startups have been approved for further funding. “Funding is being done by the ministry to support sustainable production, creating awareness for higher consumption, developing market and value chain and research-development activities.” 

India has more than 500 startups working in the millet value-added chain. The Indian Institute of Millets Research has incubated 250 startups under RKVY-Raftar. 

Tomar added that the NITI Aayog and the World Food Program intend to identify and solve the challenges in a systematic and effective manner. “The NITI Aayog and the World Food Program intend to identify and solve the challenges in a systematic and effective manner.” 

Under the National Food Security Mission (NFMS), nutritious cereal component for Millets is being implemented in 212 districts of 14 States. 

“The ministry is working in mission mode to increase millet production and consumption in collaboration with other central ministries, all state governments and other stakeholder organizations. The time has come for the Public Distribution System to shift the focus of distribution programs from basic calories to provide a more diverse food basket that includes millets to improve the nutritional status of pre-school children and women of reproductive age. Indian government had notified millet as a nutritious cereal in April, 2018. Millet has also been included under the Poshan Mission campaign,” he said. 

The minister said that the IYOM 2023 will provide an opportunity to increase global production, efficient processing and better use of crop rotation and promote millets as a major component of the food basket. “Through this, our aim is to increase the domestic and global consumption of millet.” 

India is the major producer of millet in which Kangni, Kutki or small millet, Kodon, Gangora or Barnyard, China and Brown top are included with Jowar, Bajra, Ragi and small millets. Most states in India grow one or more millet crop species. 

According to official ministry data, during the last 5 years, India produced more than 13.71 to 18 million tons of millet with the highest production in 2020-21. 

The fourth advance estimates for the year 2021-22 said that about 16 million tons of millet was produced in India, which is about 5 percent of the national food grain basket. It has the highest market share of 9.62 million tons, followed by jowar with a production of 4.23 million tons. 

Ragi is another important millet, which contributes to the production of 1.70 million tons and the production of other millets is 0.37 million tons. 

The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has taken several initiatives to promote domestic and international millets. A series of pre-launch programs and initiatives were also organized on the MyGov platform for the International Year of Millet 2023 to create awareness and a sense of public participation about the nutritious grain.

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