#IYMIMPACT : The Rise of Millets

#IYMIMPACT : The Rise of Millets

Remember those tiny, round grains your grandma used to talk about? Well, guess what? They're making a comeback! 2023 was declared the International Year of Millets, shining a light on these abundance of nutritious and climate-friendly grains.

So, what are millets exactly? These organic powerhouses are small-seeded grasses, also known as nutri-cereals or dryland cereals. They're incredibly easy to understand - think of them like tiny soldiers, standing strong against harsh weather conditions that might threaten other crops. This makes them perfect for organic farming, promoting biodiversity, and contributing to a healthier planet.
Think of bajra, the powerhouse millet used in countless Indian dishes like rotis and khichdi. It's just one example of the many amazing varieties, like finger millet (affectionately called Millet Amma in some parts of India), foxtail millet, and kodo millet. Just like millet snacks are becoming all the rage, these versatile grains can be used in countless delicious recipes, from breakfast porridges to fluffy pancakes.

But the benefits of millets extend far beyond the kitchen. Here are some fascinating facts:

Global production is on the rise! Between 2013 and 2018, it increased by a whopping 14%.

India is a major player: In 2019-2020, it produced a staggering 20.50% of the world's total millet output, which translated to 84.17 million metric tonnes globally.

Consumption is catching up: While India saw a peak growth rate of 115.15% in millet consumption between 2002-2003, it has shown a slight decline in recent years, reaching 8.33% in 2019-2020. However, the global trend remains positive with steady increases in consumption over the past few years.

These numbers showcase the growing recognition of millets' potential, not just for food security, but also for environmental and economic benefits.

Millets are also champions for:

Rural farmers: With a growing demand, millet cultivation can support the livelihoods of smallholder farmers, especially women and youth, by providing decent jobs and boosting economic growth.

The environment: Their low water and input requirements make them environmentally friendly, reducing the risk of production shocks caused by climate change.

The International Year of Millets wasn't just about celebrating these nutritious grains. It aimed to raise awareness, create millet posters and essays to educate people, and encourage research and development. By overcoming cultural barriers and improving processing techniques, we can unlock the full potential of millets, ensuring a sustainable and nutritious future for everyone.

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