PROMOTING MILLET CULTIVATION
The multidimensional approach of the Government to boost agriculture and other allied sectors in the country is emerging as a major success. In place of following the traditional system, the Government is trying to boost production of other produces also, through hybrid farming so that besides enhancing socio-economic status of farmers, the increasing demand of food grains in the country can also be met. In order to promote cultivation of millets (Shree Anna) like Jowar, Bajra, Ragi etc, the Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare (DA&FW) has been implementing a Sub-Mission on Nutri-Cereals (Millets) under National Food Security Mission (NFSM) in 212 Districts of 14 States since 2018-19. Under NFSM-Nutri Cereals, incentives are provided to the farmers, through the states/ UTs, on crop production and protection technologies, cropping system based demonstrations, production & distribution of certified seeds of newly released varieties/ hybrids, Integrated Nutrient and Pest Management techniques, improved farm implements/ tools/ resource conservation machineries, water saving devices, capacity building of farmers through trainings during cropping season, organizing events/ workshops, distribution of seed mini kits, publicity through print and electronic media etc. The interventions such as setting up Centers of Excellence (CoEs) and seed hubs for Nutri Cereals have also been supported under NFSM.
In addition, the Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI) has approved the Production Linked Incentive Scheme for Food Processing Industry for Millet-based products (PLISMBP) for implementation during 2022-23 to 2026-27 with an outlay of Rs. 800 crores. The Pradhan Mantri Formalization of Micro Food Processing Enterprises (PMFME) Scheme, launched under the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan is currently being implemented in 35 States and Union Territories (UTs). Government is also popularizing Agri-Infrastructure Fund Scheme to invite farmers/FPOs/Entrepreneurs to avail the benefit of interest subvention on loans up to 2 crore for setting up primary processing units in millets (Shree Anna). To encourage farmers to take up millet cultivation, higher Minimum Support Prices (MSP) to Jowar, Bajra and Ragi has been announced. Further, in view of 2023 being celebrated as International Year of Millets (IYM), the Government of India is implementing a multi stakeholder approach with focus on strategies to enhance production and productivity, consumption, export, strengthening value chain, branding, creating awareness for health benefits etc. The first Global Event for IYM was organised by the Department of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare on 18th March 2023. The occasion was graced by the Prime Minister of India wherein IYM engraved stamp and currency coin were also launched. As part of the event, participants from 100 countries including six Agriculture Ministers from leading millet producing/ exporting countries, international organizations, scientists, Padma Awardees, farmers, FPOs, international companies etc. participated. Moreover, a global level Exhibition-cum-Buyer-Seller Meet (BSM) in collaboration with APEDA was organized with focus on millets with participation of domestic and international exporters for promotion of millets. Several other stakeholders such as farmer producer companies/ farmers, self-help groups, schools, agri-universities, Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs), gram Panchayats, cooperative institutions, hotel management schools, Yuva Kendras, Anganwari, Indian embassies, Ministry of Railways and diaspora, etc. also participated in the event online.
Government is providing R&D support to Research Institutions for popularizing nutritious millets. ICAR-Indian Institute of Millets Research (IIMR), Hyderabad is undertaking various research projects related to shelf-life, food standards, database development etc. funded under NFSM. Central Food Technological Research Institute (CSIR-CFTRI) is undertaking R&D projects to tackle the bottlenecks in millet processing, value addition and product development. Under the Pradhan Mantri Formalization of Micro Food Processing Enterprises (PMFME) Scheme of Government of India, CSIR-CFTRI, Mysore has conducted several training and skill development programmes to enhance competitiveness of existing individual micro-enterprises, including millet based industries in the unorganized segment. Under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana – Remunerative Approaches for Agriculture and Allied Sectors Rejuvenation (RKVY-RAFTAAR) program a Centre of Excellence for Processing Millets and incubation centre is being set up consisting of around 8 processing lines dedicated to millets. These lines will help in obtaining quality primary and secondary products with enhanced shelf-life. ICMR-National Institute of Nutrition is conducting R&D activities on millets such as on nutritional values of various processed and cooked millets, efficacy of cooked millet diet, effect of finger millet-based dietary supplementation.