Title : Business Potential for millets in India
Millets are one of the oldest crops known to humans. Earliest evidence for millets cultivation can be traced back to Indus civilization during 3000 BC. Millet crops were first domesticated in Asia and Africa and later spread across the globe. Millets are primarily categorized as major and minor millets and are grown in tropical, sub-tropical and slightly temperate regions of the world, with Asia and Africa accounting for major production and consumption centres. In many of the Asian and African countries millet grains are consumed as a staple food. Mostly the local varieties of specific adaptation and culinary niceties are predominantly grown with less appreciable yield potential. India is one of the largest producers of millets in the world with 41% of global production. India along with Niger, China, Nigeria and Mali accounts for 73% of millets produced in the world. India, recognizing the value of millets, declared 2018 as “National Year of Millets” followed by establishment of a “Millet Mission”. Recognizing the nutritional potential of millets, Government of India rebranded millets as “nutri-cereals” It has also proposed to United Nations to declare “2023” as the International Year of Millets (IYOM) which was supported by 72 countries. The United Nation’s General Assembly (UNGA) also declared 2023 as International Year of Millets. Nevertheless, due to emergence of life style related health disorders, millets with high content of proteins and minerals such as calcium, iron etc. can help in controlling such health ailments. Even, in terms of nutritional property, millets are superior to certain highly consumed cereals such as rice and wheat. As a result, a growing inclination of urban population towards healthy food in India, especially after COVID-19 is being sensed by many food business companies. There is also resurgence of novel millet-based products to meet the increasing demand. As millet-based value-added products have started to enter into the plates of urban consumers, business enterprises are able to fix a premium price for their product by way of managing quality and logistics. The Government of India also relooks to include millets in the food security measures like mid-day meals in schools. No doubt such policy changes will provide an opportunity for millet farmers as well as food business firms. Hence food business companies are eyeing on the increased demand for millet-based food products to meet demand in urban areas and on the other hand, Government is sincerely trying to utilize millets in achieving nutritional security and considered as a stepping stone towards achieving sustainable development goals. Therefore, there is a vast business opportunity for millets that can be tapped by farmers, food business firms and Government. This paper attempts to discuss these developments and tries to suggest a policy framework for the benefit of major stakeholders in millet production and consumption.
What will audience learn from your presentation?
The developmental issues in production and consumption of Millets are newly emerging areas in agricultural development. The conference audience will benefit from the recent policies emerging through this country paper on Business potential for Millets. The discussion during the conference will also help the researchers in expanding their research focus. The presentation will also help to develop/strengthen academic network on millet crops. The success stories of millet products manufacturers/farmers/food business companies in India will enable and motivate food entrepreneurs/millet farmers of other countries to integrate into the millet value chain.