Zimbabwe took a significant step towards promoting millet cultivation, production, and consumption as a sustainable and nutritious 'Smart Food' by hosting a pre-conference workshop on August 1, 2023. This event is a precursor to the highly anticipated India-Africa International Millet Conference, scheduled for August 30 and 31, 2023, in Nairobi, Kenya.
The conference, a collaborative effort by the Governments of India and Zimbabwe with the support of ICRISAT, aims to address the opportunities and challenges in the millet sector. The workshop brought together diverse stakeholders, including government officials, research institutes, private sector entities, and civil society organizations.
His Excellency, Ambassador Vijay Khanduja, the Indian High Commissioner to Zimbabwe, highlighted the longstanding friendship between India and Zimbabwe, emphasizing their shared commitment to mutual prosperity and cooperation.
"I am honored to be part of the India-Africa International Millet Conference in Zimbabwe, celebrating the International Year of Millets. The Indian High Commission in Zimbabwe is committed to promoting cultural exchanges, sustainable development, and collaboration to address shared challenges.
Through innovative agricultural practices, strategic partnerships, and knowledge sharing, we aim to empower smallholder farmers and stakeholders in Zimbabwe to embrace millet cultivation. Together, we can pave the way for a brighter future and a sustainable world, ensuring food and nutrition security for generations to come," said HE Vijay Khanduja.
Professor Obert Jiri, Chief Director of Agricultural and Rural Development Advisory Services in Zimbabwe's Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate, and Rural Development, emphasized the importance of sharing information about the potential of millets in enhancing food security.
“Empowering farming communities in Zimbabwe needs collective efforts. Together, we can forge a brighter and more resilient agricultural future. Millets play a crucial role in advancing sustainable agriculture and rural prosperity, and I am deeply passionate about promoting climate-resilient and nutritious crops," said Professor Jiri.
Dr Martin Moyo, the Country Representative at ICRISAT Zimbabwe, reaffirmed the organization's commitment to investing in research, development, and extension services to fulfill the aspirations of millet stakeholders in Zimbabwe.
"We must collectively raise public awareness about millets and their adaptability to challenging climates amidst the realities of climate change. Millets can play a pivotal role in bolstering food security and nutrition, making them a vital resource for Zimbabwe's agricultural landscape," said Dr Moyo.
The workshop provided thought-provoking insights into adopting a collaborative multi-sector approach towards embracing millets as a smart and sustainable food choice. The collective commitment of stakeholders will pave the way for a brighter future, ensuring food and nutrition security for Zimbabwe and beyond.
Banner image: Key speakers and leaders at a stakeholder workshop in Zimbabwe.