From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Millets
Mains level : Read the attached story
To raise awareness on millets and prepare for 2023, PM Modi, along with fellow parliamentarians across party lines, enjoyed a sumptuous lunch where millets were front and centre.
Why in news?
- 2023 has been declared as the “International Year of Millets” by the United Nations, after a proposal from India in 2019.
What are Millets?
- Millet are small-grained cereals like sorghum (jowar), pearl millet (bajra), foxtail millet (kangni), little millet (kutki), kodo millet, finger millet (ragi/ mandua), proso millet (cheena/ common millet), barnyard millet (sawa/ sanwa/ jhangora), and brown top millet (korale).
- They were among the first crops to be domesticated.
- There is evidence for consumption of millets in the Indus-Sarasvati civilisation (3,300 to 1300 BCE).
- Several varieties that are now grown around the world were first cultivated in India.
- West Africa, China, and Japan are also home to indigenous varieties of the crop.
Cultivation of millets
- Millets are now grown in more than 130 countries, and are the traditional food for more than half a billion people in Asia and Africa.
- Globally, sorghum (jowar) is the biggest millet crop.
- The major producers of jowar are the US, China, Australia, India, Argentina, Nigeria, and Sudan.
- Bajra is another major millet crop; India and some African countries are major producers.
Millets in India
- In India, millets are mainly a kharif crop.
- During 2018-19, three millet crops — bajra (3.67%), jowar (2.13%), and ragi (0.48%) — accounted for about 7 per cent of the gross cropped area in the country, Agriculture Ministry data show.
- Jowar is mainly grown in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, and Madhya Pradesh.
- In 2020-21, the area under jowar stood at 4.24 million hectares, while production was 4.78 million tonnes.
- Maharashtra accounted for the largest area (1.94 mn ha) and production (1.76 million tonnes) of jowar during 2020-21.
- Bajra is mainly grown in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka.
- Of the total 7.75 mn ha under bajra in 2020-21, the highest (4.32 mn ha) was in Rajasthan.
- The state also produced the most bajra in the country (4.53 million tonnes of the total 10.86 million tonnes) in 2020-21.
- The consumption of millets was reported mainly from these states: Gujarat (jowar and bajra), Karnataka (jowar and ragi), Maharashtra (jowar and bajra), Rajasthan (bajra), and Uttarakhand (ragi).
Benefits of Millets
- Millets are eco-friendly crops: They require much less water than rice and wheat, and can be grown in rainfed areas without additional irrigation.
- Lesser water footprints: Wheat and rice have the lowest green water footprints but the highest blue water footprints, while millets were exactly opposite. Green water footprint refers to water from precipitation whereas blue water refers to water from land sources.
- Highly nutritious: Agriculture Ministry declared certain varieties of millets as “Nutri Cereals” for the purposes of production, consumption, and trade.
- Nutrition security: Millets contain 7-12% protein, 2-5% fat, 65-75% carbohydrates and 15-20% dietary fibre. Small millets are more nutritious compared to fine cereals. They contain higher protein, fat and fibre content.
Back2Basics: 2023- the Year of Millets
- On March 3, 2021, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted a resolution to declare 2023 as the International Year of Millets.
- The proposal, moved by India, was supported by 72 countries.
- Several events and activities, including conferences and field activities, and the issuing of stamps and coins, are expected as part of the celebrations.
- These are aimed at spreading awareness about millets, inspiring stakeholders to improve production and quality, and attracting investments.
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