GS Paper - 3 (Food Security)

NITI Aayog has entered into an agreement with United Nations World Food Program (WFP) to address issues related to inclusion of millets in government programmes. Under the statement of intent signed between the Aayog and the United Nations World Food Program (WFP), the focus will be on mainstreaming millets and strengthening of climate resilient agriculture for enhanced food and nutrition security in India, the Aayog said on 21 December 2021.

What

  1. Aiming at a more diversified food basket under its free food distribution programme with focus on coarse grains and millets.
  2. The partnership focuses on mainstreaming millets and supporting India in taking the lead globally in knowledge exchange.
  3. Further, the partnership will aim at building resilient livelihoods for small-holder farmers and adaptation capacities to climate change and transforming food systems.
  4. Under the partnership, the two parties will work in four phases including the development of a best practice compendium around millet mainstreaming and a scale-up strategy in the first phase.
  5. In the second phase, they will support scale-up of millet mainstreaming through knowledge sharing and intense engagement with select states while they will leverage India’s expertise to support developing countries for millet mainstreaming in the third phase and work on building capacities for climate resilient and adaptive livelihood practices in the fourth phase.

Flashback

  1. Numerous steps have been taken to promote millets including establishment of center for excellence, integration of nutri-cereals in National Food Security Act and establishment of Millet Mission in multiple states.
  2. Despite this, various challenges in terms of production, distribution and adaptability among consumers remain.
  3. Under the distribution system, it is time that we shift the focus of food distribution programmes from ‘calories fundamentalism’ to providing a more diversified food basket, including coarse grains and millets to improve the nutritional status of pre-school children and women of reproductive age.
  4. The government had observed 2018 as a year of millets to encourage and promote millet production in India and declared 2023 as the International Year of Millets, in line with the United Nations General Assembly resolution.