The National Institute for Transforming India(NITI) Aayog, a policy think tank of the Indian government, recently released a report titled “Promoting millets in diets: Best practices across States /UTs of India”. The report aims to revive and mainstream millets in the diets of the Indian population. Millets are highly nutritional, environmentally sustainable crops that have been overlooked in recent years due to the introduction of other crops. This report highlights the importance of incorporating millets into diets and also presents a comprehensive list of good practices and innovative approaches in millet production, processing, and consumption.
The NITI Aayog report titled “Promoting millets in Diets: Best Practices across States / UTs of India” highlights the significance of millets in the value chain, including production, processing, and consumption. The report focuses and ecological stability, health benefits, and nutritional security offered by millet. It provides insights into 3 key themes- state missions and initiatives, the inclusion of millets in integrated child development services (ICDS), and research and development with a focus on technology innovations.
The report focuses on three main themes:
- State missions and initiatives to promote millets – The report highlights the effort of various state governments and organizations in promoting millets, such as implementing millet-based farming systems and establishing millets processing units.
- Inclusion of millets in ICDS (Integrated Child Development Services)-The report emphasizes the significance of incorporating millets into the ICDS program which provides supplementary nutrition to children and women. Millets offer immense nutritional benefits and contribute to the well-being of vulnerable populations.
- Research and development and use of innovative practices– the report showcases innovative approaches and Technological advancements in millet cultivation, processing, and value addition. It emphasizes the need for research and development to further enhance the productivity and profitability of millet farming.
Importance of millets:
- Millets are nutritional crops rich in fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals. They offer a range of health benefits and can help combat non-communicable diseases like diabetes.
- Millets are environmentally sustainable crops as they require less water and fertilizer as compared to rice and wheat. They are drought tolerant and their cultivation can contribute to water conservation.
- Millets have a low glycemic index, making them suitable for individuals with diabetes and those seeking to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
- Millets exhibit medicinal properties and possess anti-inflammatory attributes contributing to the overall well-being.
The role of branding and marketing:
- With the help of branding and marketing, NITI Aayog prioritized on making millets a superfood and popularize it among masses.
- Promoting millets through effective marketing strategies can increase demand and create new market opportunities for farmers.
Government support and leadership:
- The report acknowledges the strategic leadership provided by the Hon’ble Prime Minister increasing the importance of millets. The government has taken a personal interest in giving millets are respectable status both nationally and globally.
- Various state missions, policies, and initiatives have been implemented to promote millet, showcasing the commitment of the government to revive millet cultivation.
The potential of millets for national security:
- With the rise of non-communicable diseases, there is an increasing realization of the potential of millets in ensuring national food security.
- Report emphasizes the need to capture people’s imagination and promote millet as a sustainable and nutritious food option in Indian diets.
The NITI Aayog report on promoting millets in diets highlights the environmental sustainability, and nutritional security they offer. Successful state initiatives, inclusion in ICDS, and Research efforts are showcased. The report serves as a valuable resource to promote and incorporate millets, to make them fashionable and popular as a superfood. With Government support and effective branding and marketing strategies, can regain the position as an integral part of Indian farming and diets, contributing to the overall well-being of the nation.