Mainstreaming millets: Pathway for food and nutrition security

Aligning with India’s suggestion, the United Nations has declared 2023 as the International Year of Millets. The objective is to make them a popular choice to grow on farms and on plates across the globe. This presents a windfall opportunity for India, which is the largest producer of millet in the world, to strengthen its own food and nutritional security.

Millets have a long-standing tradition of being a dietary essential across several Indian regions. However, their production took a back seat when the government’s focus shifted towards maximizing yields of wheat and rice during the Green Revolution in the 1960s. Post-Green Revolution, the area under cultivation of coarse cereals decreased drastically from 37.67 million hectares to 25.67 million hectares. Inadequate systemic support for production, processing, storage, and distribution has kept millets out of the mainstream food discourse for decades. Additionally, a lack of awareness regarding their nutritional benefits and recipes contributed to negligible consumer demand.

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