The government has formulated a strategy to boost exports of nutri-cereals – millets and valued added products — to major markets like the USA, United Kingdom, Belgium, Netherlands, Japan, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Development Authority (APEDA) in collaboration with Indian missions would organise series of events abroad to promote millet products through hyper markets, retailers and corporates commencing next month.
The steps would coincide with the United Nations General Assembly resolution declaring the International Year of Millets (IYM), 2023.
“We will tie-up big global retails chains such Lulu, Al Jazira, Carrefour for promoting exports of millet products over the next couple of years,” M Angamuthu, Chairman, APEDA, told FE. Currently, millets are exported for fodder purposes only to a few countries.
He said that while a major chunk of the export basket of APEDA products includes rice, livestock, dairy, fruits and vegetables products, promoting millet exports has significant potential in the coming years.
From an exports of $ 64 million in 2021-22, shipment of nutri-cereals could cross $ 100 million by 2023-24, as per official assessment.
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The agri-export promotion body which functions under commerce ministry would focus on exports of value added products such as noodles, pasta, breakfast cereals mix, snacks, sweets etc.
“Indian missions in the key markets could be working on branding of millet products through tie-ups with international chefs, identification of key retailers and facilitating tie up with key importers,” according to a commerce ministry official
A pre-launch event for IYM, 2023 would be organized here on December 5 which would showcase key stakeholders – farmers producers organisations, start-ups, exporters and manufacturers in the country’s millet supply chains.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman recently announced providing Rs 25 crore under the NABARD’s rural infrastructure development fund to University of Agricultural Science, Raichur, Karnataka, for establishment of incubation centre for processing and value addition for promotion of millets.
India’s millet production including sorghum (jowar), pearl millet (bajra), finger millet (ragi) in the 2021-22 crop year (July-June) was 15.9 million tonne (mt). Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh have a share of more than 60% in the total millet production. According to FAO, global millets production was 30.4 mt in 2020.
India is one of the leading producers of millets in the world with an estimated share of 41% in the global production. Millets were notified as nutri-cereals by the government in April 2018 and these cereals were included under the POSHAN mission Abhiyan.
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Currently over 500 startups are associated with developing the value chain while the Indian Institute on Millet Research, has incubated 250 Startups under the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana – remunerative approaches for agriculture and allied sectors rejuvenation (RKVY-RAFTAAR), a flagship scheme of agriculture ministry. These cereals are a rich source of protein, fiber, minerals, iron, and calcium and have a low glycemic index.