The central and Karnataka governments want declaration of an international year of millets to help spread the message on richness of the foodgrains’ nutrients and health benefits across the world. A proposal in this regard has been submitted to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), an agency of the United Nations, Karnataka agriculture minister Krishna Byre Gowda said on Tuesday. Gowda, who participated in the FAO annual meeting earlier this month in Rome, said he along with the Union food secretary made a pitch in this regard. “We have made a collective pitch along with the Government of India that there should be an international year of millets so that the message of millets spreads to the entire world.
“We find millets are there in China, Indonesia, Iran, Poland, Ukraine, vast parts of Africa and many more countries. They have been there in different parts of the world for thousands of years and these ancient ‘super foods’ cannot be forgotten and we need to reacquaint ourselves with them,” he said.
“So, we are making an international push. The Karnataka government and the Government of India together have requested the FAO to declare one year as an international year of millets as soon as possible. The FAO is of the view that it takes time to decide. We have also appealed to them to have an international day of millets every year,” Gowda said here.
“We are following up as well and trying to initiate a process to talk to other countries…we are making an effort.” He said the FAO has promised they will start working on it. “We are not sure when it will happen. We are talking to Government of India secretary (agriculture) to put together a group of like-minded countries in Africa and Asia which have long association with millets. If at least 20 countries come together and form an interest group then we will be able to push the international body (to take a decision).””We want to spread the message around the world that millets are good for our health, good for farmers and good for the environment,” the minister maintained.