While presiding over the conference on "Millets for Nutritional Security" at Chaudhary Sarwan Kumar Himachal Pradesh Krishi Vishvavidyalaya (CSKHPAU), Palampur, Governor Shiv Pratap Shukla said that at a time when the world is celebrating the International Year of Food, India is leading this campaign internationally.
He said that CSK University could play an important role in taking this campaign forward. He said that in the present perspective it is very important to promote the use of millets. He added that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has named millets as 'ShreeAnna'.
India is the biggest producer of millets in the world and accounts for 20 percent of global production and 80 percent of Asia's production, the governor said, adding that it was on India's proposal that the United Nations General Assembly agreed to announce 2023 as 'International Year of Millets'.
There are 13 varieties of millets in the world, but for the International Millets Year 2023, eight millets including Bajra, Jowar, Ragi, Kutki, Sanwak, Kangni, Chena and Kodo have been included. The Governor said that these millets are cultivated in 131 countries of the world which were rich in nutrition and taste. He said that this campaign would also play a big role in solving the problem of malnutrition among the people.
The Governor said that according to a latest report, iron and zinc deficiency may become a major problem among the people of India by the year 2050. He added that even at present about 50 percent of the population in India, including 61 percent of pregnant women, were having iron deficiency.
Millets could play an important role in overcoming this problem, he said. According to the reports, ShreeAnna could also play an important role in ensuring food security in India and neighbouring countries, said the Governor.
He said that the area under these crops in Himachal Pradesh is about 6.71 thousand hectares and the annual production is 5.88 thousand tonnes. He also appreciated the efforts of Agricultural University, Palampur for increasing the production of millets and increasing awareness among the people about its benefits.
Professor H.K Chowdhary, Vice Chancellor, Agriculture University honoured the Governor on the occasion. He said that CSK Agricultural University has been ranked eighth amongst the 74 agricultural universities in the country.
He said that many farmers trained by the University have received national level awards. The University is making the Prime Minister's vision of 'Vocal for Local' a reality, he added while putting emphasis on the promotion of ShreeAnna.
He said that the local food varieties would be planted experimentally in all the Krishi Vigyan Kendras and research centers of the university. Padmashree Nekram Sharma, as the keynote speaker on the occasion, said that with the efforts of the Government of India, 'ShreeAnna' would be available as a live food in future.
He said that it was under the guidance of scientists that he moved towards natural farming and started growing millets. He gave detailed information about the qualities of millets.
He also stressed the need to understand the diversity of forests, which were full of nutritious fruits. Dr. Pradeep Kumar, President, Krishi Vaigyanic Manch welcomed the Governor.
Shri Nipun Jindal, Deputy Commissioner, Smt. Shalini Agnihotri, Superintendent of Police, professors, scientists and other prominent people were also present on the occasion.