India to Host an International Conference to promote Millets for Better Health
India will be hosting a global conference at New Delhi on 18 March 2023 to popularize millets as super foods which could enhance health as well as protect the environment. The conference is being organized by the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare In the context of the United Nations declaring year 2023 as the International Year of Millets 2023.
The Global Millets Conference will be held at the leading Indian Agriculture Research Institute Campus at PUSA in New Delhi. The Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi, will launch the proceedings at the inaugural session which will be attended by several foreign leaders, including Heads of State and agriculture Ministers.
Millets is a family of small-seeded annual grasses that have been cultivated by humans for several centuries as grain crops, primarily on marginal lands in arid areas. Millets are nutritionally superior to wheat and rice owing to their high protein content as well as fibre, vitamins and minerals like iron. Millets are also rich in Calcium and Magnesium. For example, Ragi is known to have the highest calcium content among all the food grains.
In present times when food security is under threat, millets can provide nutritional security and act as a shield against nutritional deficiency, especially among children and women. Its high iron content can fight high prevalence of anaemia in women of reproductive age and infants. Millets can also help tackle lifestyle problems and health challenges such as obesity and diabetes as they are gluten-free and have a low glycemic index.
Millets are also good for environment as they need much less water and can be cultivated almost everywhere. Millets can grow on poor soils with little or no need for fertilizers. Millets are capable of growing under drought conditions, under non-irrigated conditions even in very low rainfall regimes. Millets have low carbon and water footprint while rice plants need at least 3 times more water to grow in comparison to millets.
Millets are cultivated in more than 130 countries around the world and are the traditional food for over 600 million people in Asia and Africa. India has been traditionally the largest producer of millet in the world and accounts for 20 % of global production. Some of the common millets available in India are Ragi (Finger millet), Jowar (Sorghum), Sama (Little millet), Bajra (Pearl millet), and Variga (Proso millet).
India will also host an international exhibition showcasing various nutritional food products based on millets alongside the global conference to promote greater use of millets for better health and climate protection. The Embassy of India will be organising events in Bulgaria throughout the year to promote use of millets as a nutritious food.
/Embassy of India Sofia
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