Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is holding a symposium with technical sessions on promotion and awareness of Millets on the sidelines of Global Millets (Shree Anna) Conference inaugurated by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. This two-day Global Millets (Shree Anna) Conference began at NASC Complex, Pusa, New Delhi on Saturday. In the inaugural session of the conference Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi digitally launched a book, “Shree Anna: A Holistic Overview”, based on standards on Millets prepared by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).
“We are witnessing an agricultural renaissance with the most ancient crop of the world becoming the present and the future crop,” said Mr. G. Kamala Vardhana Rao, Chief Executive Officer, FSSAI, setting the context for the two-day conference in his welcome address.
The guest of honour of the session, Dr. V.K. Paul, member of NITI Aayog, said in his address that millets are good for the consumer, cultivator and climate. Shri Rajesh Bhushan, Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare highlighted in his theme address that while millets have been cultivated historically, the total area under millets cultivation has come down significantly. He said that this is the high time to identify the root cause of the decline and address it, as we march ahead on this noble campaign.
After the main event, a conference on the health and nutritional benefits of millets organised by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) began at the AP Shinde Symposium Hall at the NASC Complex in the second half of the day. A number of distinguished experts from all over the world presented their views and highlighted the importance of Shree Anna (Millets) over three different sessions on the first day.
As a special speaker in the session, Mr Jong-Jin Kim, Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Asia-Pacific of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), highlighted that FAO is committed to its responsibility for enabling and supporting practices for better production, better nutrition and better environment for India and globally. Describing millet as a storehouse of nutrition for children and adolescents, Mr. Arjan De Wagt, Chief Nutrition, UNICEF India, said that multiple macro and micro nutrients in millets makes it ‘Poshan Power’ and adding millets in the food basket will make it a ‘Rainbow Diet’. He also emphasised on the importance of ‘diet literacy’ to ensure people are aware of a nutritious and balanced diet.
The second session of the convention discussed the importance of millet as a super food. Dr. VK Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog moderated the session. Dr. Aziz Elbehri, Indian Representative of FAO, Mr. Angelo de Queiroz Mauricio, Agriculture Representative, Embassy of Brazil in India, Ingeborg Bayer, Counsellor, Embassy of Germany, Mr. Mariano Beheran, Embassy of Argentina and Counsellor Agriculture at the High Commission of Canada in India, Shri Nitin Verma gave valuable insights on the requirement of policy calibration and emphasised on the current market status and creating market demand for millets.
The third session of the conference was moderated by senior sports journalist Shri Ayaz Memon and saw celebrated sportspersons including former Indian Cricket Team Captain Mr. Kapil Dev, Commonwealth Games Gold Medallist Wrestler, Ms. Geeta Phogat, Athletics Champion Ms. Anju Bobby George, Chief National Coach of Indian Badminton Team Mr. Pullela Gopichand and Former Chief Selector of Indian Cricket Team Mr. MSK Prasad share their views on the theme- ‘Unleashing benefits of millets and well-being’. The panel discussion revealed the need of specific and customized diet based on the format and kind of the game.
In all the three sessions, many interesting questions regarding millets and their health benefits were also asked by the people sitting in the auditorium.
The objective of the conference is to engage nutritionists, health experts, policy makers, industry leaders, international speakers and key stakeholders in taking forward the various initiatives of the Government and to deliberate on millets consumption, health benefits, research, innovations, sustainability, and food system transformation.
Shri Rajesh Bhushan, Secretary, MoHFW, Shri Manoj Ahuja, Secretary, DA&FW, Dr Himanshu Pathak, Secretary, DARE & DG (ICAR), Shri G Kamala Vardhana Rao, Chief Executive Officer, FSSAI, Virtual presence of Ms. Sahle-Work Zewde, President of Ethiopia and Dr. Mohd Irfaan Ali, President, Cooperative Republic of Guyana, Various Agriculture Ministers of millet producing nations and importing nations such as Gambia, Guyana, Niger, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Maldives, Mauritius along with representatives from Academia, Industry, Development partners such as UNICEF India, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Scientists, Experts, Farmer producer organisations (FPOs), Krishi Vigyan Kendras, participants from Indian diaspora abroad and senior officials from the government were present at the conference.
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