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Scope for value addition and export of millets, says Shobha Karandlaje

The Minister said Karnataka has a tradition of cultivating millets in the form of ragi and jowar but it was lagging behind when it comes to export

January 21, 2023 08:08 pm | Updated January 26, 2023 09:44 am IST - MYSURU

Union Minister of State for Agriculture Shobha Karandlaje and Suttur seer Sri Shivaratri Deshikendra Swamiji (third from left) and others at the inauguration of a workshop on importance of millets, at Suttur near Mysuru on Saturday, January 21.

Union Minister of State for Agriculture Shobha Karandlaje and Suttur seer Sri Shivaratri Deshikendra Swamiji (third from left) and others at the inauguration of a workshop on importance of millets, at Suttur near Mysuru on Saturday, January 21. | Photo Credit: M.A. SRIRAM

The Minister of State for Agriculture Shobha Karandlaje said in Suttur on Saturday that there was tremendous scope for value addition and export of millets as the world had realised its health benefits.

She was speaking on the importance of millets at a workshop organised as part of Suttur Jathra Mahotsava. The Minister said Karnataka has a tradition of cultivating millets in the form of ragi and jowar but it was lagging behind when it comes to export.

There was a demand for millets as it has proven to be gluten-free and the farmers should make the best use of the demand. The United Nations has declared 2023 as the International Year of Millets and there was tremendous responsibility on India to fulfil its role in exporting and propagating the benefits of millets, said Ms. Karandlaje.

She said as India held the G20 presidency, the onus was more on it and the ministry had held meetings with the embassies of nearly 130 countries in a bid to popularise millets. ‘’Apart from introducing them to culinary delights based on millets, even recipe books have been distributed and now there is demand for quality millets and the farmers should brace for tapping the potential,’’ the minister added.

She pointed out that there were countries where no food or vegetables were cultivated or grown given the climatic conditions and were fully dependent on imports. Farmers should tap the export potential through value addition and better packaging, said Ms. Karandlaje.

She said the Centre was laying thrust on improving the agricultural sector and it is evident in the Budgetary outlay. Though 70 per cent of the country’s population was dependent on farming, the budget outlay in 2013-14 was about ₹23,000 crore. But it has increased steadily since 2014-15 and during the 2022-23 budget the outlay for agriculture was ₹1.36 lakh crore, Ms. Karandlaje added.

In addition, ₹1 lakh crore was earmarked as Agriculture Infrastructure Fund to help establish cold storages, packaging units, food testing laboratories etc, the minister said. Despite the pandemic the farmers grew a record 314 million metric tons of food grain last year and showed the potential of the country. There was a time when food had to be imported and India was lacking in food security. But, today there is excess production as a result of which India was among the top 10 food exporting nations. But there was need to focus on nutritional security as well and the millets were the best form to fortress oneself with nutrition, the minister added.

Progressive farmers engaged in millet cultivation and value addition were felicitated on the occasion. Suttur seer Sri Shivaratri Deshikendra Swamiji and others were present.

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