Millets can be part of the solution to global food insecurity and a step towards sustainability, India’s ambassador to Türkiye said Monday.
Virander Paul said that while India accounts for 30% of global millet production, around 130 countries grow the climate-smart crops.
He was speaking at a panel held in the Turkish capital Ankara titled "Millets for sustainable food security.”
The United Nations General Assembly declared 2023 the International Year of Millets following a proposal by India two years ago.
"Millets are an ancient food grade, if I may use the word ‘ancient’ for a food grade. Ancient because they predate most modern cereals known to mankind," said Paul.
"There is archeological evidence that millets have been used for centuries.”
Touching on threats to the global food supply chain, Paul said that "in more recent times, as we began to travel on the road to a post-COVID recovery, we found ourselves in the middle of a conflict (between Russia and Ukraine)."
Referring to Russia and Ukraine as two major food-producing and exporting countries, he said with the deepening of the conflict, poor countries have been hit hard by food shortages and escalating food prices.
"All these things put together led us to a very intense, rather serious crisis-like situation where collectively we need to find solutions," he said, pointing to millets as part of the solution.
As the panel was moderated by Anadolu’s Greenline Desk Correspondent Biriz Ozbakir, the Indian ambassador also thanked the Greenline Desk for its contribution in creating greater awareness about the International Year of Millets in Türkiye.
Other panelists also pointed out the potential of nutrition-rich and climate resistant millets as a solution to food insecurity.
Millet-based refreshments were also served to guests after the discussion.