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2023: International Year of Millets

The United Nations General Assembly has declared the year 2023 as the ‘International Year of Millets’ (IYM2023). This was adopted by a United Nations Resolution for which India took the lead and was supported by over 70 nations. India celebrated 2018 as the National Year of Millets for encouraging cultivation and consumption of these nutri-cereals.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, organized an opening ceremony for IYM2023 in December 2022 in Rome, Italy. An Indian delegation led by Sushri Shobha Karandlaje, Minister of State, Agriculture & Farmers Welfare was present at the opening ceremony.

Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi in his message at the Opening Ceremony said: “Millets have a glorious history of being among the earliest crops grown by humans. They have been an important food source in the past. But the need of the hour is to make them a food choice for the future!”

IYM2023 will help in creating awareness throughout the world about the significant role of millets in sustainable agriculture and its benefits as a smart and superfood. Government of India has declared to celebrate IYOM, 2023 to make it a people’s movement so that the Indian millets, recipes, and value-added products are accepted globally. The ‘International Year of Millets’ stands to provide a unique opportunity to increase global production, ensure efficient processing and consumption, promote better utilization of crop rotations and encourage better connectivity throughout food systems to promote millets as a key component of the food basket.

FAO’s IYM2023 Campaign:
The campaign portal https://www.fao.org/millets-2023/en features information regarding:

  • Worldwide Events & Outreach Activities to promote the International Year of Millets & IYM promotional video e.g.
  • The #IYM2023 Global Chefs Challenge for people to share their Millets recipe videos
  • IYM2023 Communication handbook and toolkit which provides background about the IYM objectives, slogan, theme, facts, key messages, calls for action and visual identity
  • Six Reasons to bring millets to the market:
    1. Millets are there when others are not
    2. Millets can contribute to a healthy diet
    3. Millets are climate-resilient
    4. Millets offer promising livelihood opportunities for small-scale farmers
    5. Millets’ trade can improve the diversity of the global food system
    6. Millets can be used in many innovative ways


  • Key Messages such as Millets can be an important part of a healthy diet; The sustainable cultivation of millets can support climate-resilient agriculture; Greater consumption of millets can offer opportunities to smallholder farmers to improve their livelihoods etc.
  • Millets and the 2030 Agenda: IYM2023 contributes to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Government of India’s Millets Push

In the Union Budget for 2022-23, the Government announced full support for post-harvest value addition, enhancing domestic consumption, and for branding millet products nationally and internationally. In order to make India a global hub for ‘Shree Anna’ (Millets), the Government in the Union Budget for 2023-24 has announced that the Indian Institute of Millet Research, Hyderabad will be supported as the Centre of Excellence for sharing best practices, research and technologies at the international level.

To commemorate IYM2023, the Government of India has launched a campaign portal  https://www.mygov.in/campaigns/millets/, which features various interactive activities undertaken around Millets:

  • Participating in “Shree Anna” and other Quizes related to Millets
  • Logo and Tagline Competitions for Mega Food Event 2023
  • Taking Pledge on Nutrition through Nutri-cereals
  • Sharing Millets Magic recipes
  • Making interesting comics on millets
  • Participating in Slogan contest on Importance of millets for nutritious diet
  • Inviting Videos from Millets Ambassador
  • Inviting innovative ideas to increase millet production and consumption
  • Creating informative documentary on importance of milletsv
  • Creating awareness about millets through songs

GoI’s 7 Sutras or Themes on Millets Promotion

  • Enhancement of Production and Productivity: Strengthening quality seed chain; Technology demonstrations; Demand creation; Crop Diversification focus in favour of millets; Increased Procurement and Distribution
  • Value Addition, Processing and Recipe Development: Strengthening of 3 Centres of Excellence with advanced infrastructure; Development of primary processing clusters at Farm Gate etc.
  • Nutrition and Health Benefits: Digital compilation of research papers, Commissioning studies by international reputed organizations
  • International Outreach: Global promotion as per FAO Action Plan; Involvement of Indian diaspora, embassies, famous cuisine shows, International food influencers & airlines
  • Entrepreneurship, Startup and Collective Development
  • Awareness creation – Branding, Labelling & Promotion
  • Policy Interventions for mainstreaming

Besides, the Indian Embassies overseas have been undertaking the following role:

  • Facilitating dialogues between key players and investors in target countries to enhance trade of Millets
  • G2G engagements to collaborate on food security agreements and MoUs
  • Conducting Millet based food festival to promote the products made of Millets

‘Millets’ were among the first crops to be domesticated in India with several evidence of its’ consumption during the Indus valley civilization. Being grown in more than 130 countries at present, Millets are considered traditional food for more than half a billion people across Asia and Africa.

In India, millets are primarily a kharif crop, requiring less water and agricultural inputs than other similar staples. Millets are important by the virtue of its mammoth potential to generate livelihood, increase farmers’ income and ensure food & nutritional security all over the world.

Jowar and Proso Millets (Common Millet) are the most cultivated millets in the 112 and 35 countries respectively. Sorghum and pearl millets covers more than 90% area and production. Remaining production comes from Ragi (Finger Millets), Cheena (Proso Millets), Foxtail Millets (Kangni) and other non-segregated millets.

India is the major producer of Millets in which Kangni, Kutki or small millet, Kodon, Gangora or Barnyard, china and Brown top are included with Jowar, Bajra, Ragi and small millets. India is poised to become the global hub for millets with a production of more than 170 lakh tonnes which makes for more than 80% of the millets produced in Asia.

Millets provide an alternative food system in times of increasing demand for vegetarian foods. Millets contribute to a balanced diet as well as a safe environment. These are the gifts of nature to mankind.