India Becomes Destination Country for Healthy Foods Like Millet: Tomar at G-20 Agriculture Meeting
Tomar said the United Nations (UN) accepted India’s proposal and declared 2023 as the International Year of Millet and urged G-20 countries to support the celebration of the Year of Millet to promote the nutrition and sustainable agriculture. The G20 Agriculture Ministers ‘Meeting is one of the ministerial meetings organized as part of the 2021 G20 Leaders’ Summit to be hosted by Italy in October.
“The Indian government has focused on reintroducing traditional foods including millet, other nutritious grains, fruits and vegetables, fish, dairy products and organic products into the diet of the people. Their production has been phenomenal in India in recent years and India is emerging as a destination country for healthy food products, ”Tomar said in an official statement, quoted in his virtual address.
Tomar said biofortified varieties, which are the source of a basic micronutrient-rich diet, are being promoted to eliminate malnutrition. About 17 of these varieties from different cultures have been developed and brought into cultivation. The government has also taken measures to increase the optimal use of water resources, create infrastructure for irrigation, conserve soil fertility with balanced use of fertilizers and ensure connectivity of farms to markets, he said. he adds.
The minister was speaking during a session on “Working together to achieve the Zero Hunger goal: successful projects implemented by the ministries of agriculture”. Stating that Indian agriculture was very successful after the country’s independence, Tomar said: “India’s agricultural sector has not been affected even during the COVID pandemic.”
Various government initiatives to keep the agricultural market dynamic as well as the agricultural input supply chain during the COVID pandemic have helped the agricultural sector perform better, he said.
Therefore, during the year 2020-2021, there has been an increase in the production of food grains as well as exports, he added.
Emphasizing the measures taken in favor of sustainable agriculture, the Minister declared that the program “Per Drop-More Crop” for irrigation and “Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana” for organic farming were successfully implemented. Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana is implemented to provide insurance coverage to farmers. “India is fully aware of its commitments on climate change issues and several steps have been taken to make agriculture sustainable,” he said.
To tackle the problem of malnutrition, India runs the world’s largest food safety net program, which includes the public distribution system and the mid-day meal program, he added.
The government also provides annual income support of Rs 6,000 under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana. So far, Rs 1.58 lakh crore has been deposited into the bank accounts of over 11.37 crore of farmers under this program.
In addition, Tomar assured that India will share best practices and build capacities of other developing countries.
He reiterated India’s determination to continue working together to achieve the goals of poverty reduction and zero hunger within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals. He also reiterated India’s determination to cooperate in research and development as well as the exchange of best practices to improve productivity.
Tomar led a four-member Indian delegation to the G20 agriculture ministerial meeting which was held in hybrid mode due to the pandemic.