Promoting nutri-rich and climate smart millets: Prof M S Swaminathan

The Karnataka government has taken the lead in promoting the consumption of millets on a large scale. Speaking about this, Prof Swaminathan said "Karnataka has always been integrating millets in the food of the people as for example Ragi. Over 25 years ago, in the Forum of FAO (I was then Independent Chairman of the FAO Council), I pleaded for referring to millets as “nutri-rich and climate smart” food grains. At that time, they were being referred to as coarse cereals and this gives a wrong message about the importance of millets. Including millets in the public distribution system under the Food Security Act of 2013 is an important step. Millets are grain where commercialisation promotes conservation. Therefore, I hope my request in the Forum of FAO and the Committee on Food Security (CFS) for declaring one year during this decade as International Year of Millets and Underutilised Crops will be approved by the UN. The declaration of 2013 as the International Year of Quinoa lead to a wider understanding of the food value of Quinoa and thereby to greater production and consumption. It is high time that there is an International Year of Millets and Underutilized Crops. The Government of India should take the lead in this respect".