As the world’s food systems struggle to feed a growing population, resilient grains like millet offer a cheap and healthy alternative.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) headquarters hosted the International Year of Millet 2023 (IYM) opening ceremony on Tuesday.
Many people in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia rely on them as a major food source.
Millets can be used as a healthier alternative to cereal, making production shocks less likely to happen.
IYM 2023 and efforts to increase millet production will help the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
As the world’s food systems struggle to feed a growing population, resilient grains like millet offer a cheap and healthy alternative. More needs to be done to encourage their cultivation.
Tuesday was the opening ceremony for the International Year of Millet 2023 (IYM). It was held at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) headquarters.
Millets include fonio, sorghum (also called “big millet”), teff, pearl, proso, foxtail, barnyard, small, Kodo, browntop, finger, and Guinea millets. Many people in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia rely on them as a major food source. They help ensure there is enough food in places where they are culturally significant and deeply rooted in Indigenous Peoples’ ways.
“Millets are amazing, nutritionally dense ancient crops. FAO Director-General QU Dongyu told the people at the hybrid event that millets can make a big difference in our efforts to help smallholder farmers achieve sustainable development, end hunger, adapt to climate change, promote biodiversity, and change the way agrifood systems work.
Increased millet output can help smallholder farmers support their families and give young people and women respectable jobs. The money made can spur economic expansion. Millets can be used as a healthier alternative to cereal, making production shocks less likely to happen.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development will be helped by IYM 2023 and efforts to make more millet.
This international year serves as a helpful reminder of the significance of this crop. Also, it is a rare chance to bring attention to and raise awareness of the nutritional and health benefits of eating millet, as well as the fact that millet can be grown in difficult and changing climates and creates new and sustainable market opportunities for many countries around the world.
Amina Mohammed, the United Nations’ deputy secretary-general, sent a video message during the opening ceremony. Shobha Karandlaje, India’s minister of state for agriculture, received a greeting from Prime Minister Narendra Modi. India came up with the idea for the International Year, and right now, it is in charge of the Steering Committee.
Mohammed M. Abubakar, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development of Nigeria, also gave a keynote address. Janaina Tewaney Mencomo, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Panama, spoke through a video message.
IYM 2023 wants to get farmers, young people, and members of civil society interested in millet so that governments and policymakers will give these cereals more attention when it comes to production and trade.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
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Analysis by: Advocacy Unified Network