The Ministry of Food Processing Industries, Government of India organized a two-day ‘Millet Fair cum Exhibition’ in Madurai, Tamil Nadu from 6-7 March, 2023. The event was organised as part of the Millet Mahotsav series, in collaboration with the Department of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and the Department of Agricultural Marketing and Agri Business, Government of Tamil Nadu. Tamil Nadu is known for the production of different varieties of millets including Pearl Millet (Bajra), Sorghum (Jowar), Finger Millet (Ragi), Small Millet (Foxtail Millet, Barnyard Millet, Kodo Millet, Proso Millet) and Little Millet. The district of Madurai is known for the production of Pearl Millet (Bajra), Sorghum (Jowar), Finger Millet (Ragi) and Small Millet. In the year 2019-20 the district produced, 3,548 tonnes of Pearl Millet (Bajra), 22,405 tonnes of Sorghum (Jowar), 69 tonnes of Finger Millet (Ragi) and 130 tonnes of Small Millets.
During the event, the first Common Incubation Centre under the Pradhan Mantri Formalisation of Micro food processing Enterprises (PMFME) Scheme was inaugurated by Thiru. P. Moorthy, Minister for Commercial Taxes and Registration, Government of Tamil Nadu, Thiru. T. M. Anbarasan, Minister for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME), Government of Tamil Nadu and Thiru. M. R. K. Panneerselvam, Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Government of Tamil Nadu at Krishi Vigyan Kendra Madurai, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University. The Common Incubation Centre has been set up for Dhal Processing and Fruit & Vegetable Processing.
Aligning with the spirit of an Aatmanirbhar Bharat and to promote entrepreneurship development, an Agri Hackathon was organized inviting aspiring entrepreneurs to submit their ideas for innovative agricultural and food processing technologies. The initiative garnered a positive response with more than 400 applications submitted. The selected applicants went through a boot camp training, out of which, four applicants were shortlisted for a funding grant, mentorship and handholding support. The dignitaries also launched 17-millet based brands to encourage micro food processing enterprises to venture into the domain of Millet processing. Additionally, a book on Millets by the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University was also launched during the event. The dignitaries later visited the stalls at the Millet-based product exhibition, which had over 150 stalls showcasing various Millet based value-added products and innovative millet-based recipes.
The two-day event was aimed at providing the micro food processing enterprises with a platform to interact with leading industry players through B2B and B2C interactions organized during the Buyer Seller Meet. Participants interacted with organizations to get a deeper understanding of marketing, e-commerce, quality parameters for online and offline retail, etc. It brought all the stakeholders of the food processing sector with special focus on millets, on a common platform and encompassed a wide range of activities like exhibition and sale of various millet-based products, live kitchen showcasing 45 Millet-based dishes prepared by 19 Self Help Groups, millet recipe demonstration, cooking competition, agri-hackathon, informative sessions on millet processing, buyer seller meet, interactive sessions between industry experts and micro food processing enterprises, SHGs, FPOs engaged in food processing. Cultural programs and art forms like Puliyattam, Poikkal Kuthirai Attam, Karakattam and Kummi enriched the event and provided the participants with a glimpse of the cultural heritage of Tamil Nadu. Millet Mahotsav received an overwhelming response with more than 6000 participants attending the event including micro food processing enterprises, self-help groups, farmer producer organizations, producer cooperatives, etc.
In addition to the Millet Mahotsav, a mega-food event World Food India 2023 is also being organized by the Ministry from 3rd to 5th Nov 2023 at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi to provide a unique platform to all stakeholders i.e. producers, food processors, equipment manufacturers, logistics players, cold chain players, technology providers, academia, start-up & innovators, food retailers, etc. to interact and have a dialogue. The event is slated to be the biggest-ever congregation of dignitaries, global investors and business leaders of major global and domestic food companies which would put India firmly on the global food landscape.
In the wake of the United Nations General Assembly declaring 2023 as the International Year of Millets, the Ministry of Food Processing Industries is hosting Millet Mahotsav across 20 States and 30 Districts in the country with the aim of creating awareness about the nutritional benefits, value addition, consumption and export potential of Millets. The States hosting the events include Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Odisha, Punjab, Kerala, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, West Bengal, and Jharkhand.
Being grown in more than 130 countries, Millets are considered traditional food for more than half a billion people across Asia and Africa. Millets are important by the virtue of their mammoth potential to generate livelihoods, increase farmers’ income and ensure food & nutritional security all over the world. India is one of the leading producers of millets in the world with an estimated share of around 41 percent in global production. Recognizing the enormous potential of Millets, which also aligns with several UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Government of India (GoI) has prioritized Millets. Spearheaded by the Honourable Prime Minister, the Government of India’s proposal for International Year of Millets (IYoM) 2023 was accepted by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). The declaration has been instrumental for the Government of India to be at the forefront of celebrating IYoM.
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