Global recognition for millets project

Smart Food programme of ICRISAT selected as a winning innovation for 2017 at global platform LAUNCH Food

Updated - February 02, 2017 10:26 pm IST

Published - February 02, 2017 10:25 pm IST

Good food: Initiator of Smart Food project and Director Strategic Marketing and Communications of ICRISAT Joanna Kane-Potaka in Sangareddy district.

Good food: Initiator of Smart Food project and Director Strategic Marketing and Communications of ICRISAT Joanna Kane-Potaka in Sangareddy district.

SANGAREDDY: Smart Food (SF) initiative, which focuses on popularising millets and sorghum, has been selected as one of the winning innovations of 2017 by LAUNCH Food programme.

The recognition by LAUNCH Food would provide the Smart Food programme not only global recognition but also mentorship support.

The SF initiative would be able to achieve major impact globally by promoting the demand for millets and strengthen the value chains while ensuring that smallholder farmers benefit.

The Smart Food initiative is founded by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid-Tropics (ICRISAT) and aims to build food systems where the food is good for you (highly nutritious), good for the planet and good for the smallholder farmer.

Global competition

LAUNCH Food is a global competition where 11 innovations are selected each year for mentoring and linked with high level experts and organisations to accelerate the innovation. This year there were 280 submissions from 74 countries. The LAUNCH Food innovators will attend an event in San Francisco in March to present and discuss their innovation with key industries and investors.

LAUNCH was founded in 2009 by NASA, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.S. Department of State and NIKE Inc., to identify, showcase and support innovative approaches to sustainability challenges. LAUNCH Food is also supported by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

“Millets, including sorghum, are the first Smart Food we are focusing on. They are highly nutritious, have a low water and carbon footprint, and have so many multiple uses that are yet untapped,” said Smart Food initiator and leader, Joanna Kane-Potaka, Director Strategic Marketing and Communication, ICRISAT.

Nutritious foods

“There have been traditional foods across India and many countries in Africa but with low investments their value chains are significantly underdeveloped which makes it more difficult for the farmers to invest. Over time they have become labelled as an old fashioned food. We plan to take a different approach and drive demand by first creating a new image and buzz around millets,” said Ms. Joanna Kane- Potaka.

Efforts are on to take the Smart Food forward as a partnership.

The Indian Institute of Millet Research (IIMR), the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), MS Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) and the Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) have been working along with ICRISAT in this direction.

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