Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Radha Mohan Singh has said that the 160th session of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Council, currently underway in Rome, approved India’s proposal to observe an International Year of Millets in 2023, says a Press release issued by the ministry.
According to the statement, the minister conveyed India’s gratitude to the countries who voiced their support. He added that this will enhance global awareness to bring back these nutri-cereals to the plate, for food and nutrition security and hence increase production for resilience to challenges posed globally by climate change.
The minister said India’s prowess in agriculture diplomacy has grown in the last four years. This international endorsement comes in the backdrop of India celebrating 2018 as the National Year of Millets for promoting cultivation and consumption of these nutri-cereals. This is further supported by increase in Minimum Support Prices (MSP) of millets. Millets consists of jowar, bajra, ragi and minor millets together termed as nutri-cereals. The MSP of jowar has been increased to Rs 2,450 per quintal from Rs 1,725, bajra to Rs 1,950 from Rs 1,425 and ragi to Rs 2,897 from Rs 1,900 per quintal from 2018-19. Through the Department of Food and Public Distribution, state governments are allowed to procure jowar, bajra, maize and ragi from farmers at MSP.
In addition, the FAO Council also approved India’s membership to the Executive Board of the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) for 2020 and 2021 for which the Minister expressed his deepest gratitude to other member countries for their support.