Millets are healthy and sustainable and must be promoted: Krishna Byre Gowda, Minister of Agriculture, Government of Karnataka
27 November, 2017
Minister of Agriculture, Government of Karnataka, Krishna Byre Gowda described millets as healthy and sustainable. Speaking at the Roadshow on Organics and Millets co-organised by ASSOCHAM, he said cultivation of the crop must be promoted. He also stressed that despite being exclusively organic till 30 years ago, India today makes up for only 1 % of the global share in the organic farming industry. The country thus needs to tap into global markets, to connect them to the farmers so that income is guaranteed. Commissioner of Agriculture, Government of Karnataka, G. Satish, highlighted that the agriculture department is looking beyond production towards creating markets. This he said is to incentivize production for the farmers. He thus appealed to various stakeholders present to be partners in a food industry leader consortium. He said the government seeks to engage various stakeholders including, academics, entrepreneurs, policy makers, chefs, and dieticians. Secretary, Agriculture, Government of Karnataka, M. Maheshwar Rao, further added that the idea was to increase the area under cultivation and ensure that the farmer gets a higher share in the value chain to incentivize it for them. The domestic market would first need to grow in order to form connections with the global market. He further added that investing in millets would reduce costs relating to health in the long run. Secretary, Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers' Welfare, Government of India, Dr. S.K. Pattanayak, spoke of the government’s plans to introduce the term ‘Nutri-cereals'. This he said will highlight the added nutritional value of cereals like millets. Millets he said are an acquired taste, and introducing these to children through mid-day meals is one way popularising it. He did, however, add that there high yielding varieties with enhanced shelf life need to be researched. Various experts who addressed the gathering included, CEO, NRAA Dr. Ashok Dalwai, Principal Scientist, IIMR, Dr. Dayakar Rao, Director of External Relations and Strategic Marketing, ICRISAT, Joanna Kane Potaka, President, All India Food Processing Association, Dr. S. Jindal, Managing Director, AEDA, Dr. Tarun Bajaj; Executive Director, CCOA and knowledge Partner ITF, Manoj Menon amongst many others.