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Millets: A promise to a sustainable food future

by | Dec 27, 2023 | 0 comments

Millets: A promise to a sustainable food future

Millets have been widely grown around the world as cereal crop and formed an integral part of our diet for centuries. In India, millets have found a mention in the Yajurveda. Over a period of time, with changing food habits, we forgot our indigenous foods, millets being one of them. These changed food habits, along government policies centered around Green Revolution- led food security favoring production of wheat and rice, led to a sharp decline in the production and consumption of millets.

Millets have high nutritional value, particularly anti oxidants, Iron, Calcium, Zinc and fibre. They provide an affordable and nutritious option to feed the population. In addition to a plethora of health benefits, millets are also good for the environment with low water and input requirement, being drought resistant, high yield potential and low carbon footprint thus preserving bio-diversity.

With the aim to create awareness and increase production & consumption of millets, United Nations, at the behest of the Government of India, declared 2023 the International Year Millets. The International Year of Millets 2023 marks a special occasion for us to recognize its significance, not only as a vital food source but also as a key player in addressing global challenges such as food security, nutrition, sustainable agriculture and climate change to promote biodiversity, transform agrifood systems and eliminate hunger.

In addition to a highly relevant and updated course curricula and innovative teaching learning pedagogy that strives to produce excellent professionals in the field of Food Technology, the Under graduate programme- B.Sc. Food Science and Management and the Post graduate programme- M.Sc. Food Technology and Management of the Department of Food Science at M.O.P. Vaishnav College, understands its responsibility towards the society and nation to create a better and sustainable ssfuture.

The two-day International Conference on “Resurgence of Millets for Food Security and Sustainability” on the 14th and 15th December 2023, organised by the Department of Food Science, M.O.P. Vaishnav College for Women, Chennai was a  testament to the collaborative spirit and shared commitment to the importance of promoting the significance of millets in our global food systems.

The conference witnessed a plethora of distinguished speakers, including Dr. C. Anandharamakrishnan, Director CSIR- NIIST, Trivandrum, Dr. Israel Oliver King E.D., Director, Biodiversity, M S Swaminathan Research Foundation, Chennai, Dr. Sharmila Jain Oswal, Director, Center of Excellence Millets Pahle India Foundation, New Delhi, Dr. Sanu Jacob Director, National Food Laboratory, FSSAI, Chennai, Dr. Ramnarain Ramakrishna, Cereal Scientists R&D Manager, Bay State Milling Company, Massachusetts, United States, Dr. Kaliramesh Siliveru, Department of Grain Science and Industry, Kansas State University, United States and Dr. KBRS Visarada Principal Scientist, ICAR-IIMR, Hyderabad.

The deliberations emphasized on the role of millet as a ‘superfood’, processing techniques to improve nutritional quality and the challenges faced during processing, need for strengthening resilience and mainstreaming millets through public initiatives; and Bioprocessing as a promising avenue for improving millet functionality and utilization. The two-day conference focused on promotion and awareness of millets among consumers and other stakeholders; millets’ value chain development; health and nutritional aspects of millets; research and development etc.

Such events are not just a necessity but also a responsibility towards the global food security and sustainability. As India assumes global leadership in promoting the cause of millets, the success of the International Year of Millets will go a long way in achieving SDGs.

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