PRIME MINISTER Narendra Modi on Tuesday said a once-in-a-century pandemic followed by a conflict situation has shown that food security is still a concern for the planet.
In his message to the opening ceremony of the ‘International Year of Millets 2023’, organised at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) headquarters in Rome, Italy, Modi said, “Millets have a glorious history of being among the earliest crops grown by humans. They have been an important food source in the past. But the need of the hour is to make them a food choice for the future.”
His message was read out by Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Shobha Karandlaje, who represented India at the opening ceremony.
Modi said, “A global movement related to millets is an important step, since they are easy to grow, climate resilient and drought resistant.”
He said millets are good for consumers, cultivators and the climate. They are a rich source of balanced nutrition; they benefit the cultivators and the environment since they need lesser water and are compatible with natural ways of farming, said the Prime Minister.
“There is a need for diversity on the land and on our tables. If agriculture becomes monoculture, it impacts our health and the health of our lands. Millets are a good way to increase agricultural and dietary diversity,” he said.
Raising awareness to create “Millet Mindfulness” is an important part of this movement. Both institutions and individuals can make a tremendous impact, Modi said.
“While institutional mechanisms can encourage production of millets and make it profitable via policy initiatives, individuals can make health-conscious and planet-friendly choices by making it a part of their diet,” he added.
Congratulating the United Nations and the FAO for the launch of the ‘International Year of Millets’, Modi said, “I am positive that it will start a mass movement towards a secure, sustainable and healthy future.”
He also expressed appreciation to the different member nations who have supported India’s proposal to mark the ‘International Year of Millets’.