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NEW DELHI : Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Wednesday said that Shree Anna (Millets) is the need of the day, as it is rich in nutrients. 

“In the present environment, whether at home or outside, food is available to us, but it lacks nutrients as per requirement. Nutrients should be in sufficient quantity in the food, for this it is necessary to have Shree Anna in our food plate," Tomar said while addressing the inauguration ceremony of the two-day National Millets Conference organized by Jawaharlal Nehru Agricultural University, Jabalpur as part of the International Year of Millets.

Tomar said that we know that millets are being produced as a special product in the world. With the passage of time, the share of millets in the food plate decreased and millets lost its competitive edge. Efforts are being made to promote millets again and increase its use. 

“Under the leadership of India, the whole world is celebrating the year 2023 as the International Year of Millets. It will be formally launched by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi at an International Conference in New Delhi on 18 March," he added.

The minister said that under the directions of the Prime Minister, a plan has been prepared for the promotion of millets through G-20 meetings. “In all the programs of G-20, priority is being given to millets in food, so that when these people return to their country, they take good taste of food from here and India’s Shree Anna gets new recognition in the world. Our farmers and the country will get the benefit of this," he informed.

Tomar said that the millets crop is rain-fed, which can be grown with less expenditure and consumes less water. Poor farmers can produce it in barren land. The more the use of millets increases, the more nutrients will be available in the food, which will benefit people. 

“If the use of millets increases in the world, processing will increase, exports will increase, which will benefit small farmers and it will eventually help improve their financial condition. This International Year of Millets is very important from this point of view," the minister said.

He added that to increase research on this in the country, three National Centers of Excellence have been set up in Haryana, Hyderabad and Bengaluru, through which a lot of work is being done. There are about 2000 Startups working in the Agriculture sector, most of which are related to millets. Agricultural products worth more than 4 lakh crore were exported from our country, most of which are organic and millets. 

Lauding the contribution of Jawaharlal Nehru Agricultural University in promoting agriculture in Madhya Pradesh and making it emerge as a soya growing state, the minister said the University is also working on millets crops that are vanishing, an area which needs to be doubled up.

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