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Generating momentum: International Year of Millets 2023 (IYOM 23)

Generating momentum: International Year of Millets 2023 (IYOM 23)


The webinar ‘Leveraging Millets for Nutrition and Health’ organized by ICRISAT's Agribusiness and Innovation Platform has highlighted ICRISAT’s role as the Government of India’s knowledge partner for the IYOM 2023.

The seminar was organized as part of ICRISAT’s “Smart Food” initiative celebrating India’s National Nutrition Week 2022.

Eminent speakers were drawn from across different sectors representing apex policymakers, food and health industry leaders, and senior scientists.

Strategies for millet promotion

The guest of honor Dr Neelam Patel, Senior Advisor (Agriculture and Allied Sectors) Niti Aayog, New Delhi, presented the challenges and opportunities, identified by the Government of India to mainstream millets into food systems by leveraging the nutritional and health benefits of millets and promoting R&D along with an appropriate policy system.


“I am confident that this important webinar will foster strategic partnerships and identify strategic interventions to promote millets as nutri-cereals for achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)".
"ICRISAT as a knowledge partner of the Government of India for IYOM23, brings its vast global experience in the areas of millet genetic diversity, breeding and crop improvement, natural resource management, promoting nutrition and dietary diversity, food processing and value addition, food safety, and promoting millet-based entrepreneurship,” said Dr Neelam Patel in her keynote address.

She touched upon ICRISAT’s role in fostering South-South Cooperation for strengthening the millet movement in Africa and the role of ICRISATs gene bank, which is a world repository of sorghum and millets germplasm, and in promoting millets across the globe.

Dr. Patel emphasized the need for setting up an expert committee, involving different stakeholders, to work closely with Niti Aayog to create guidelines for ensuring that millet-based food products are manufactured and marketed as per International Quality Standards.

Clockwise from top left: Drs Saikat Datta Mazumdar, Aravazhi Selvaraj, Neelam Patel, Victor Afari-Sefa, Meenakshi Bajaj and Vidyashankar Satyakumar.
Clockwise from top left: Drs Saikat Datta Mazumdar, Aravazhi Selvaraj, Neelam Patel, Victor Afari-Sefa, Meenakshi Bajaj and Vidyashankar Satyakumar.

Combating malnutrition and hidden hunger with millets

Dr Victor Afari-Sefa, Research Program Director, Enabling Systems Transformation, ICRISAT, underscored the importance of sustainable eating to combat malnutrition, hidden hunger and diet-related non-communicable diseases.

“It is very important to implement millet-based nutritional intervention schemes all over the globe and mainstream millets into the regular diets of rural and urban communities,” said Dr Victor Afari-Sefa.

Making millets desirable

Bringing in the industry perspective on millets and Nutrition, Dr Vidyashankar Satyakumar, Head – R&D Excellence and Capacity Building, Britannia Industries Ltd., dwelled on the aspect of creating sustainable demand-pull for millets through innovation and leveraging on the 8 P’s – Product, Price, Place, Promotion, Policy, Packaging, Patents, and Publications – and creating a new image to millets as a “desire of the rich”.

Metabolic health benefits of millets

Dr Meenakshi Bajaj, Dietician, Tamil Nadu Government, Multi Super Specialty Hospital, Chennai provided participants with information on a topical and lesser-known aspect of millets i.e., its metabolic health benefits. Her informative presentation focused on positive behavioural change for sustainably integrating millets into diets.

Orchestrating demand

Dr Saikat Datta Mazumdar, Principal Scientist, ICRISAT, shared his concluding remarks that leveraging millets for nutrition and health, requires close coordination among different stakeholders to ensure the creation of sustainable demand leading to an efficient value chain while understanding consumer behaviour.

The sessions ended with closing remarks from Mr Aravazhi Selvaraj, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Agribusiness and Innovation Platform, ICRISAT.

Other participants from across India were part of the webinar.

To watch the webinar recording, click here

This work aligns with SDG 2
This work aligns with SDG 2



Food and Nutrition Security Agribusiness and Innovation Platform Food and Value Chains Nutrition, dietary behaviour and Smart Food
About The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics

The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) is a pioneering International Organization committed to developing and improving dryland farming and agri-food systems to address the challenges of hunger, malnutrition, poverty, and environmental degradation affecting the 2.1 billion people residing in the drylands of Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and beyond.

ICRISAT was established under a Memorandum of Agreement between the Government of India and the CGIAR on the 28 March 1972. In accordance with the Headquarters Agreement, the Government of India has extended the status of a specified “International Organisation” to ICRISAT under section 3 of the United Nations (Privileges and Immunities) Act, 1947 of the Republic of India through Extraordinary Gazette Notification No. UI/222(66)/71, dated 28 October 1972, issued by the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India.

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