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The covid-19 pandemic followed by geo-political tension has shown that food security is still a concern for the planet, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, adding that at such a time, a global movement related to millets is an crucial step.

Modi was speaking at the opening ceremony of the International Year of Millets at the headquarters of the Food and Agricultural Organization in Rome, Italy.

Stressing the need for diversity on the land and at the dining table, the Prime Minister stated that health is impacted if agriculture becomes monoculture and pointed out that millets are a good way to increase agricultural and dietary diversity.

He added that while institutional mechanisms can encourage the production of millets and make it profitable via policy initiatives, individuals can make health-conscious and planet-friendly choices by making millets a part of their diet.

“Millets have a glorious history of being among the earliest crops grown by humans. A once-in-a-century pandemic followed by a conflict situation has shown that food security is still a concern for the planet. Climate change can also impact food availability. At such a time, a global movement related to millets is an important step, since they are easy to grow, climate resilient and drought resistant," Modi said.

Mint had reported that India is working on developing the “world’s largest grain storage“ programme by merging various schemes of the Union ministries of agriculture and farmers welfare; consumer affairs, food and public distribution; and food processing.

The Russia-Ukraine war had rattled international grain markets, sending international wheat prices to record high forcing several countries including India to curb wheat exports. Russia and Ukraine together exported a quarter of the world’s wheat before the war.

According to a World Bank report, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is expected to further deepen poverty and worsen food insecurity in Low-Income Countries (LIC). Food consumption in LICs accounts for over 45 per cent of total household expenditure, and diets remain heavily based on staple foods, including wheat, the report said.

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