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FAO backs India in building on momentum of International Year of Millets

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New Delhi, March 30 (IANS) The Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) took stock of the accomplishments of the International Year of the Millets 2023 and identified priorities for future investments to strengthen the value chains for millets at a closing ceremony held in Rome, according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Agriculture on Saturday.

Director-General, FAO, Dr. QU Dongyu, in his opening remarks at the official closing ceremony, commended the international community for their commitment to advancing millet-related initiatives and emphasised the crucial role of millet in achieving food security and nutrition for all.Deputy Director-General FAO, Beth Bechdol, expressed gratitude to all participants for their unwavering commitment and dedication to the success, and highlighted the importance of sustaining the momentum of the International Year of Millets 2023 in promoting millets beyond the designated year.The year-long celebration, which was strongly backed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, succeeded in raising awareness about the nutritional and health benefits of millet consumption, the suitability of millets for cultivation under adverse and changing climatic conditions, and the benefits of creating sustainable market opportunities for producers and consumers.India’s representative Maninder Kaur Dwivedi underscored the significance of India’s thriving millet ecosystem comprising various start-ups, industries, farm producer organisations, in increasing the promotion and adoption of millets.The event showcased a series of insightful discussions and presentations underscoring the importance of millets in achieving sustainable development goals and its emergence as a ‘Global Superfood’.Director, ICAR-IIMR Dr. C Tara Satyavathi, shared insights into India’s R&D endeavours to develop a robust millets value chain at a Roundtable Discussion on ‘Research and Development for the Millets Sector,’ a significant side event convened as part of #IYMClosingCeremony.A special exhibition featuring a showcase of millet-value-added products from across the world, and live cooking was also organised.Following a proposal by India, backed by more than 70 countries, the United Nations General Assembly, at its 75th session in March 2021, declared 2023 as the International Year of Millets.The high-level closing ceremony event at the FAO headquarters on Friday was attended by participants from across the world. Nigeria’s Minister to FAO, Yaya Adisa Olaitan Olaniran, highlighted the significance of millets and outlined strategies for integrating millet cultivation into sustainable agricultural practices in Nigeria.–IANSsps/uk

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