Conclave brought stakeholders of the food processing sector on a common platform with a special focus on Millets
During his inaugural address, Pashupati Kumar Paras stated that due to the initiative of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the United Nations declared the year 2023 as the International Year of Millets. He added that the UN declaration has put India at the forefront of championing the initiative and building a strong name for Millets globally. Touching upon the importance of millet and the immense market potential for millet-based value-added products, Paras talked about the opportunities in millet processing in the state of Bihar. The state is known for the production of Jowar, Bajra, Ragi and Small Millets. During the year 2021-22, Bihar has exported 21,187.60 MT Millets worth 5.92 Million US Dollars and Bhojpur is the hub of sourcing of Sorghum and Small Millet.
Pashupati Kumar Paras appreciated the continuous efforts of the Ministry of Food Processing Industries for capacity-building activities in the food processing sector, benefitting the entrepreneurs to set up or upgrade the processing units in the region. He also elaborated on the various initiatives the Ministry of Food Processing Industries has undertaken to support the food processing sector. In addition, he cited the role of the PMFME Scheme in empowering micro food-processing enterprises by providing financial, technical, and business support across the value chain.
Pashupati Kumar Paras also spoke about the efforts of the Government of India to augment trade across the global market through participation in events like GULFOOD-2023 held recently in UAE. The event, which witnessed participation from 125 countries, saw extensive participation from Indian exporters encompassing women entrepreneurs, start-ups, merchants and manufacturers showcasing agricultural, dairy, pulses and meat-based produce with a focus on Millets and their products.
The two-day event at Bhojpur, Bihar encompassed a wide range of activities like the exhibition and sale of various millet-based products, informative sessions on millet processing, interactive sessions between industry experts and micro food processing enterprises, SHGs, FPOs engaged in food processing. It witnessed an overwhelming response, with more than 1,000 participants attending the event, including micro food processing enterprises, self-help groups, farmer-producer organizations, producer cooperatives, etc.
The event was organised as part of a series of Millets Mahotsavs being celebrated across 20 States and 30 Districts in the country by the Ministry of Food Processing Industries in the wake of the United Nations General Assembly declaring 2023 as the International Year of Millets. The States that will be hosting the events include Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Odisha, Punjab, Kerala, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, West Bengal, and Jharkhand.
In addition to the Millets Mahotsavs, a mega-food event – World Food India-2023 is being organized by the Ministry of Food Processing Industries from 3-5 November 2023 at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi. The event will provide a unique platform for all stakeholders, including producers, food processors, equipment manufacturers, logistics players, cold chain players, technology providers, academia, start-up & innovators, food retailers, etc. to interact and dialogue. Furthermore, the event, slated to be the biggest-ever congregation of dignitaries, global investors, and business leaders of major international and domestic food companies, will put India firmly on the global food landscape.
Being grown in more than 130 countries, Millets are considered traditional food for more than half a billion people across Asia and Africa. Millets are important by the virtue of their mammoth potential to generate livelihoods, increase farmers’ income and ensure food & nutritional security all over the world. India is one of the leading producers of millets in the world with an estimated share of around 41 percent in global production. Recognizing the enormous potential of Millets, which also aligns with several UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Government of India (GoI) has prioritized Millets. Spearheaded by the Honourable Prime Minister, the Government of India’s proposal for International Year of Millets (IYoM) 2023 was accepted by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). The declaration has been instrumental for the Government of India to be at the forefront of celebrating IYoM.