India-ASEAN Millets Festival

India-ASEAN Millets Festival

News: Recently, India and ASEAN has launched a five-day Millets Festival in Jakarta.

Key Highlights:
• The festival was jointly organized by the Indian Mission to ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare.
• The festival featured a Millet-centric exhibition with participation from Milletbased Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs)1.
• The event was aimed at raising awareness and creating a market for millets and millets-based products among the 10-member bloc.
• The festival was part of the implementation of the Response to
Crises adopted at the 20th ASEAN-India Summit in Jakarta, Indonesia on 7th September 2023

What are Millets?
• Millets are a group of small-seeded grasses, widely grown around the world as cereal crops or grains for fodder and human food. They belong to the Poaceae family, commonly known as the grass family.
• Millets are small-grained, annual, warm-weather cereals that are highly tolerant of drought and other extreme weather conditions.
• Examples - Jowar (Sorghum), Bajra (Pearl Millet), Ragi (Finger Millet), Jhangora (Barnyard Millet), Barri (Proso or Common Millet), Kangni (Foxtail/Italian Millet), Kodra (Kodo Millet)

Benefits of Millets

Health Benefits:
• Millets are rich in fiber, minerals, and antioxidants which contribute to good intestinal functioning, improved immunity, prevention of cardiovascular diseases, and glycemic control.
• They are rich in several beneficial nutrients, such as phosphorus, magnesium, copper, and manganese.
• They are gluten-free and boast high protein, fiber, and antioxidant contents.
• They are low-glycemic index (GI) foods and can help keep your blood sugar from spiking after you eat.
• Millets are rich in dietary fiber, both soluble and insoluble. The insoluble fiber is a prebiotic, which means it supports good bacteria in your gut.

Environmental Benefits:
• Millets are climate-smart crops that can grow in semi-arid areas and poor soil conditions, and can withstand drought, diseases, and pests.
• They need less water, pesticide, and insecticide, and hence, they are environmentally friendly and can reduce the atmospheric carbon pressure.
• The cultivation of millets generates fewer greenhouse gas emissions compared to rice and wheat farming.
• Millets play a pivotal role in enhancing biodiversity. They have deep root systems that help prevent soil erosion and increase soil fertility

Farmer Benefits:
• Millets are resistant to drought and tolerant to crop diseases and pests, allowing them to survive in adverse climatic conditions.
• They require very less water, fertilizers, and pesticides to grow, reducing the costs and environmental impacts of farming.
• Millets are dual-purpose crops, providing both food and fodder for humans and animals. 

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