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India, ASEAN kick off 5-day Millets Festival to raise awareness, create market for millets-based products

India spearheaded the UN General Assembly Resolution for declaring the year 2023 as the ‘International Year of Millets’, a move aimed at addressing food security challenges.

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi (fifth from left) with leaders of the ASEAN bloc in a group photo during the 20th ASEAN-India Summit, in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Thursday, September 7, 2023. (ANI Photo)

By: India Weekly

INDIA and ASEAN on Wednesday (22) launched a five-day Millets Festival in Jakarta, a move aimed at raising awareness and creating a market for millets and millets-based products among the 10-member bloc.

“The prime minister (Narendra Modi) participated in the ASEAN-India Summit and East Asia Summit on September 7. During the ASEAN-India summit, one of the joint statements adopted was about food security,” India’s ambassador to ASEAN Jayant Khobragade said.

“In two months we are having the millet festival which also covers food security. That is how effectively our comprehensive strategic partnership is working,” he said.

Describing millets as one of the important elements for ensuring food security, he said this was very well in the overall framework of the ASEAN-India relationship.

“There is a lot of interest. For this millet festival, we have representation not only from Indian farmers and industrialists but also from ASEAN member states,” he added.

Khobragade also highlighted the crucial role of millet in addressing global hunger and nutrient deficiencies. The Indian Mission to ASEAN and the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare have jointly organised the ‘ASEAN-India Millets Festival’ starting Wednesday during which a Millet-centric exhibition is being held featuring participation from Millet-based FPOs, start-ups and Indian chefs.

Arief Prasetyo Adi, head of the National Food Agency (Badan Pangan Nasional (BPN)) Indonesia, underscored millets as a farmer-friendly and sustainable food choice for the future in the face of climate change.

He said that the ASEAN-India Millet Festival has an opportunity to raise awareness of the benefits of millet, from nutritional status and environmental sustainability to economic development.

The ‘ASEAN-India Millets Festival’ aims to create a market for millets and millets-based products among the ASEAN Member states. Millets can grow on arid lands with minimal inputs and are resilient to changes in climate. They are, therefore, an ideal solution for countries to increase self-sufficiency and reduce reliance on imported cereal grains.

India spearheaded the UN General Assembly Resolution for declaring the year 2023 as the ‘International Year of Millets’, a move aimed at addressing food security challenges. The Year will also promote the sustainable production of millets while highlighting their potential to provide new sustainable market opportunities for producers and consumers.

India’s department of agriculture and farmers welfare is leading a delegation at the event, representing a diverse set of professionals from Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs), industry leaders and more. A Millet-centric exhibition is being held as part of the festival featuring participation from Millet-based FPOs, start-ups and Indian chefs. The exhibition also aims to foster collaboration between ASEAN countries, celebrate cultural and culinary diversity and promote sustainable millet practices for a healthier future.

(PTI)

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