Millets in daily diet will fight malnutrition: Agriculture Minister

New Delhi/Hyderabad, Sep 17 (IANS): Urging the young generation to understand the importance of nutritious food grains such as millets, Union Agriculture and Farmers' Welfare Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Friday asked them to make it a part of their daily diet.

Noting that since ancient times millets have been used in abundance in the country, Tomar said: "The government is taking necessary steps to achieve nutrition security along with food security. And millets will play an important role."

It was upon India's initiative that the United Nations declared 2023 as the 'International Year of Millets', he said while inaugurating the two-day "Nutri-Cereal Multi-Stakeholders' Mega Convention 3.0" at Hyderabad, an official release said.

The two-day convention is being organised by the ICAR-Indian Institute of Millets Research (IIMR), Hyderabad, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the UN and the Union Agriculture Ministry.

The objective of this event is to prepare a blueprint of series of events planned to celebrate the "International Year of Millets, 2023" as declared by the United Nations.

Tomar said that the Central government has announced various packages under the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund worth Rs 1.5 lakh crore to fill the gaps in the agriculture sector. A special mission was launched for oil seeds and oil palm cultivation from which the farmers in Telangana would greatly benefit as land is suitable for cultivation of these crops.

He said that to encourage the next generation to invest in agriculture and to ensure profitable yields for the crops, new farm laws have been enacted. The government is going to spend Rs 6,850 crore to set up 10,000 new Farmers' Producing Organisations (FPOs) and as a result, lives of about 86 per cent of farmers would be transformed, he added.

Earlier, Tomar and other dignitaries visited the millets' food stalls put up by various start-ups and millet processing units at the venue. He also released various publications brought out by the ICAR-IIMR.

Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers' Welfare Secretary Sanjay Agarwal; Scientific and Industrial Research Secretary, Dr Sekhar C. Mande; Agriculture Research and Education Secretary and ICAR Director General, Dr Trilochan Mohapatra and others were also present.

Later in the day, Tomar participated in tree plantation and seed distribution programmes, followed by interaction with farmers and biodiversity groups.

He inaugurated the glass house research facilities, the Nutri-Cereal Seed Science Centre, the start-up facility, the millet food processing units and flaking lines. He visited food processing facilities, and the ICAR-IIMR's business incubator, the Nutrihub, the release added.



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