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English rendering of PM’s address at the inauguration of Global Millets Conference (Shree Anna) in New Delhi

Posted On: 18 MAR 2023 2:38PM by PIB Delhi

Present in today's conference are my cabinet colleagues Shri Narendra Tomar ji, Mansukh Mandaviya ji, Shri Piyush Goel ji, Shri Kailash Choudhary ji; Hon'ble Ministers from Guyana, Maldives, Mauritius, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname and Gambia; scientists and experts working in the field of agriculture, nutrition and health from different parts of the world; various FPOs and young friends from the start-up world of the country; lakhs of farmers from every nook and corner of the country; other dignitaries, ladies and gentlemen!

Heartiest congratulations to all of you for organizing the 'Global Millets Conference'. Such events are not only necessary for global good, but also are a symbol of India's growing responsibility in global good.


You also are aware that only after India's proposal and efforts, the United Nations has declared 2023 as the 'International Millet Year'. When we make a resolution, it is equally important to take the responsibility of accomplishing it. I am glad that today, as the world is celebrating 'International Millet Year', India is leading this campaign. The 'Global Millets Conference' is a vital step in this direction. In this conference, all the scholars and experts are going to deliberate upon the cultivation of millets, the economy related to it, its impact on health, income of farmers, and many such topics. In this conference, Gram Panchayats, Agriculture Centres, School-Colleges and Agricultural Universities are also with us. Indian Embassies as well as several countries have also joined us today. More than 75 lakh farmers of India are virtually present in this event with us today. This reflects its grandeur.

I once again heartily welcome all of you and congratulate you. Commemorative stamps and coins on Millets have also been released here. The Book of Millet Standards has also been launched here. And with this, ICAR's 'Indian Institute of Millets Research' has been declared as the Global Centre of Excellence. And before coming to the stage, I went to see the exhibition. I would also urge all of you and those who are in Delhi these days or are visiting Delhi, to come and see the exhibition to understand the whole world of Millets at a single place; its importance for the environment, nature, health as well as the income of the farmers. I would urge you all to come and visit the exhibition. The manner in which our young friends have come into this field with their new startups is also impressive in itself. This reflects India's commitment.


Today I would like to repeat one thing in front of lakhs of farmers and foreign guests who are with us in the Global Millets Conference. In view of the global branding or common branding of millets, these millets or coarse grains in India have now been given the identity of ‘Shree Anna’. ‘Shree Anna’ is not limited to farming or consumption only. Those who are familiar with the traditions of India, are aware that in our country 'Shri' is not associated with a name without any reason. 'Shri' is associated with prosperity and integrity. ‘Shree Anna’ is also turning into a medium of overall development in India. Villages and the poor have a link with it. 'Shree Anna' means a door to prosperity for small farmers of the country; 'Shree Anna' means forebearer of nutrition for crores of people of the country; 'Shree Anna' means welfare of the tribal society of the country; 'Shree Anna' means more crop yield with less water; 'Shree Anna' means chemical free farming; 'Shree Anna' means a way to tackle the challenge of climate change.


We have worked tirelessly to make 'Shree Anna' a global movement. In 2018, we declared millets as nutri-cereals. In this direction, work was done at every level from raising awareness in farmers to creating interest in the market. In our country, millets are mainly cultivated in 12-13 states. But, the domestic consumption of millets was not more than 2-3 kg per person per month. Today it has increased to 14 kg per month. The sale of millets-based food products has also increased by about 30 percent. Now millet cafes have started appearing at various places; social media channels related to millets are also being created. Millets have also been selected in 19 districts of the country under the 'One District, One Product' scheme.


We know that most of the cultivators who grow food grains are small and marginal farmers. And some people will definitely be surprised to know that about 2.5 crore small farmers are directly involved in the production of millets in India. Most of them have a small area of land; and they are also the most affected by the challenges of climate change. India's Millet Mission, the campaign started for 'Shree Anna', is going to prove to be a boon for 2.5 crore farmers of the country. For the first time since independence, 2.5 crore small farmers producing millets have been taken care of in such a major way by a government. When the market of millets and green grains will expand, the income of these 2.5 crore small farmers too will rise. This will also benefit the rural economy tremendously. Millets are now reaching stores and markets through processed and packaged food items. In the last few years, more than 500 startups working on 'Shree Anna' have also come up in the country. A large number of FPOs are coming forward in this direction. Women are also making millet products through Self-Help Groups. From the villages, these products are reaching malls and supermarkets. That is, a complete supply chain is being developed in the country. Consequently, the youngsters are getting jobs, and small farmers are also getting a lot of benefits.


At present, India holds the G-20 Presidency. India's motto is- 'One Earth, One Family, One Future'. International Millet Year reflects this spirit of considering the whole world as one family. The sense of duty towards the world and the resolve to serve humanity has always been on India's mind. You see, when we moved ahead with Yoga, we also made sure that the whole world gets its benefits through International Yoga Day. I am glad that today Yoga is being officially promoted in more than 100 countries of the world. Today, more than 30 countries of the world have given recognition to Ayurveda as well. Today, this effort of India in the form of International Solar Alliance is working as an effective platform for a sustainable planet. And it is also a matter of great delight for India that more than 100 countries have joined ISA. Today, be it leading the LiFE mission or achieving climate change goals ahead of schedule, we draw inspiration from our heritage, drive change in society, and carry it forward for the global good. And this is also visible in India's 'Millet Movement' today. 'Shree Anna' has been a part of the lifestyle in India for centuries. In different regions of the country, many types of coarse grains like Jowar, Bajra, Ragi, Sama, Kangni, Cheena, Kodon, Kutki, Kuttu are prevalent. We want to share our agricultural practices and experiences related to 'Shree Anna' with the world. We also want to learn anything new and special that the world and other countries have to offer. We also intend to learn. Therefore, I specially request the Agriculture Ministers of the friendly countries present here to develop a stable mechanism in this direction. It is our shared responsibility that a new supply chain is developed beyond this mechanism, from field to market and from one country to another. 


Today, on this platform, I want to emphasize another strength of the millets and that is - it is climate resilient. Millets can be easily produced even in extremely adverse climatic conditions. It also requires relatively less water to produce, making it a preferred crop for water-stressed areas. Experts like you are also aware that Millets have another great feature that it can be grown naturally without chemicals. That is, millets are guaranteed to safeguard the health of both humans and the soil.


When it comes to food security, we know that today the world is facing two challenges. On one hand, the Global South, which is concerned about the food security of its poor, while on the other hand, there is a part of the Global North, where diseases related to food habits are becoming a major problem. Poor nutrition is a huge challenge here. That means, on one hand there is a problem of food security, while on the other hand there is a problem of food habits! In both the regions, there is a concern about chemicals being used in large quantities for cultivation. But 'Shree Anna' provides a solution to every such problem. Most millets are easy to grow. The cost is relatively less and gets ready quickly as compared to other crops. Not only are they rich in nutrition, they are also unique in terms of taste. In the world struggling for global food security, 'Shree Anna' is like an amazing gift. Similarly, the problem of food habits can also be addressed with 'Shree Anna'. These foods with high fibre have been considered very beneficial to health. These help a lot in preventing lifestyle related diseases. That is, from personal health to global health, we can definitely find a way to solve many of our problems with 'Shree Anna'.


There are endless possibilities before us to work in the field of millets. Today, the contribution of 'Shree Anna' to the national food basket in India is only 5-6 per cent. I urge the scientists of India and experts in the field of agriculture to work faster to increase it. We have to set achievable targets for every year. The country has also started the PLI scheme to give a boost to the food processing sector. We must ensure that the millet sector gets maximum benefit out of this and more and more companies are coming forward to develop millet products; we must make sure that this dream is fulfilled. Several states have included 'Shree Anna' in their PDS system. Such efforts can be started by other states as well. By including 'Shree Anna' in the mid-day meal, we can provide nutrition to the children, add a new taste and variety to the meal.

I am sure, all these points will be discussed in detail in this conference, and a roadmap will also be prepared to implement them. With the concerted efforts of our farmers, and all of us, 'Shree Anna' will add a new dimension to the prosperity of India and the world. With this wish, I thank all of you very much from the bottom of my heart and I also express my heartfelt gratitude to the Presidents of the two countries for taking the time out to send us their messages. 

Thank you very much!

DISCLAIMER: This is the approximate translation of PM’s speech. Original speech was delivered in Hindi.



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