With G20 Presidency, India seeks markets for millets


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By Our Special Correspondent

New Delhi, November 10: With India taking over G20 Presidency next month, the government has prepared a comprehensive strategy to promote Indian millets exports across the globe commencing December 2022. The millets export promotion programme also comes at the backdrop of the proposal of India that was supported by 72 countries which led to the United Nations’ General Assembly (UNGA) declaring 2023 as International Year of Millets (IYoM) on March 5, 2021. The government is currently organising IYoM-2023 at domestic and international level to popularize Indian millets as well as its value-added products across the world and make it a peoples’ movement.

India exported millets products worth of $34.32 million during 2021-22. Thrust on millets exports coincides with International Year of Millets (IYoM) to be observed by UN in 2023. The Centre is organising IYoM-2023 at domestic and international level to popularize Indian millets and its value-added products across the world.

Indian missions abroad would be roped in branding and publicity of Indian millets. For exports of Indian millets’ promotion, the Centre has planned to facilitate participation of exporters, farmers and traders in 16 international trade expos and Buyer Seller Meets (BSMs).

“As per the government’s robust strategy to promote millets, Indian missions abroad would be roped in branding and publicity of Indian millets, identification of international chefs as well as potential buyers such as departmental stores, supermarkets and hypermarkets for organizing B2B meetings and direct tie-ups,” said the Ministry of Commerce in an official statement on Thursday.

In addition, Ambassadors of Foreign missions in India of the targeted countries and potential importers would also be invited to showcase various millet-based products, including Ready to Eat millet products and facilitate B2B meetings. APEDA has planned to organize millet promotional activities in South Africa, Dubai, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Sydney, Belgium, Germany, United Kingdom and United States of America by facilitating participation of different stakeholders from India in some of the significant food shows, Buyer Seller Meets and Road Shows.

As part of the promotion of Indian millets, APEDA has planned to showcase millets and its value added product at various global platforms such as Gulfood 2023, Foodex, Seoul Food & Hotel Show, Saudi Agro Food, Fine Food Show in Sydney (Australia), Belgium’s Food & Beverages Show, Germany’s BioFach and Anuga Food Fair, San Francisco’s Winter Fancy Food Show, etc.

India is one of the leading producers of millets in the world with an estimated share of around 41 per cent in the global production. As per FAO, world production of millets in the year 2020 was 30.464 million metric tones (MMT) and India’s share was 12.49 MMT, which accounts to 41 per cent of the total millet production. India recorded 27 per cent growth in millet production in 2021-22 as compared to millet production in the previous year was 15.92 MMT.

India’s top five millet producing states are Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. Share of export of millets is nearly one per cent of the total millet production. Exports of millets from India include mainly whole grain and the export of value-added products of millets from India is negligible.

However, it is estimated that the millets market is set to grow from its current market value of more than $9 billion to over $12 billion by 2025. The pre-launch of IYoM-2023 is scheduled for December 5, 2022 involving stakeholders of the supply chain such as FPOs, Start-ups, exporters, producers of millet-based value-added products. Besides, buyer seller meets would also be organized in the countries of Indonesia, Japan, United Kingdom, etc., to promote Indian millets.

APEDA would also organise food sampling and tasting at the retail level and in key local bazaars of targeted countries where individual, household consumers can gain familiarity with millet products. For promotion of Indian Millets and its value-added products, the Centre has developed 30 e-Catalogues on each of the targeted countries comprising information on various Indian Millets and range of their value-added products available for export, list of active exporters, start-ups, FPOs and importer/retail chain/hyper markets, etc., that to be circulated to the Indian Embassy abroad, importers, exporters, start ups and stakeholders.

“Government is also mobilizing start-ups for export promotion of value-added products in the Ready to Eat (RTE) and Ready to Serve (RTS) category such as noodles, pasta, breakfast cereals mix, biscuits, cookies, snacks, sweets, etc. As per the millet promotion strategy, major international retail supermarkets like Lulu group, Carrefour, Al Jazira, Al Maya, Walmart, etc. would also be roped in to establish millet corner for branding and promotion of millets,” added the Ministry of Commerce. Government has also started formulating five-year strategic plan for the promotion of millets and value-added millet products in the international market in association with ICAR-Indian Institute of Millets Research (IIMR), Hyderabad, ICMR-National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad, CSIR-Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI), Mysore and Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs).

The Centre has created the Nutri Cereals Export Promotion Forum to give impetus to the export of potential products, including millets, and to remove the bottlenecks in the supply chain of Nutri cereals. “Millets have superior nutritional values in comparison to highly consumed cereals such as rice and wheat. Millets are rich in calcium, iron, and fibers that help in fortifying essential nutrients for the healthy growth in children. Also, the usage of millets in infant food and nutrition products is increasing,” stated the Ministry of Commerce.

As per the DGCIS data, India registered a growth of 8.02 per cent in the export of millets in the financial year 2021-22 as the export of millets was 159,332.16 metric tonne against 147,501.08 metric tonne during the same period last year. India’s major millet exporting countries are the UAE, Nepal, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Oman, Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, the UK and the US. The varieties of millets exported by India include Bajra, Ragi, Canary, Jawar, and Buckwheat.

The major millet importing countries in the world are Indonesia, Belgium, Japan, Germany, Mexico, Italy, the US, United Kingdom, Brazil and Netherlands. There are 16 major varieties of millet, which are produced and exported, including Sorghum (Jowar), Pearl Millet (Bajra), Finger Millet (Ragi) Minor Millets (Kangani), Proso Millet (Cheena), Kodo Millet (Kodo), Barnyard Millet (Sawa/Sanwa/Jhangora), Little Millet (Kutki), Two Pseudo Millets (BuckWheat/Kuttu), Ameranthus (Chaulai) and Brown Top Millet.

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