Millets

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    • Recently, the Prime Minister of India, along with fellow parliamentarians across party lines, enjoyed a lunch made of millets to raise awareness on millets.

    Millets 

    • About:
      • The term millet is used to describe small-grained cereals like sorghum (jowar), pearl millet (bajra), foxtail millet (kangni/ Italian millet), little millet (kutki), kodo millet, finger millet (ragi/ mandua), proso millet (cheena/ common millet), barnyard millet (sawa/ sanwa/ jhangora), and brown top millet (korale).
      • Several varieties that are now grown around the world were first cultivated in India
      • West Africa, China, and Japan are also home to indigenous varieties of the crop.
    • Global Scenario:
      • Globally, sorghum (jowar) is the biggest millet crop. 
      • The major producers of jowar are the United States, China, Australia, India, Argentina, Nigeria, and Sudan. 
      • Bajra is another major millet crop; India and some African countries are major producers.
    • Production in India:
      • In India, millets are mainly a kharif crop
      • During 2018-19, three millet crops — bajra (3.67%), jowar (2.13%), and ragi (0.48%) — accounted for about 7 percent of the gross cropped area in the country.
      • Jowar is mainly grown in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, and Madhya Pradesh

    Image Courtesy: IE

    • Consumption of millets- It was reported mainly from these states:
      • Gujarat (jowar and bajra), 
      • Karnataka (jowar and ragi), 
      • Maharashtra (jowar and bajra), 
      • Rajasthan (bajra), and 
      • Uttarakhand (ragi).
    • Benefits:
      • Millets are eco-friendly crops – require much less water than rice and wheat.
      • Can be grown in rainfed areas without additional irrigation.  
      • They are highly nutritious
      • Higher protein, fat and fiber content: Millets contain 7-12% protein, 2-5% fat, 65-75% carbohydrates and 15-20% dietary fiber.

    2023: the Year of Millets

    • In 2021, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted a resolution to declare 2023 as the International Year of Millets. 
    • The proposal, moved by India, was supported by 72 countries. 
    • Aim: Spreading awareness about millets, inspiring stakeholders to improve production and quality, and attracting investments. 

    Nutri Cereals

    • These are certain varieties of millets.
    • Declared as Nutri Cereals by the Agriculture Ministry for the purposes of production, consumption, and trade
    • These include Jowar, bajra, ragi/ mandua, the minor millets — kangani/ kakun, cheena, kodo, sawa/ sanwa/ jhangora, and kutki — and the two pseudo millets, buckwheat (kuttu) and amaranth (chaulai).

    Source: IE