INDIA ADDA – Perspectives On India

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Dikshu C. Kukreja
Dikshu C. Kukreja
Mr. V. Raman Kumar
Mr. V. Raman Kumar
Ms. Chandra Ganjoo
Ms. Chandra Ganjoo
Sanjay Bhatia
Sanjay Bhatia
Aprameya Radhakrishna
Aprameya Radhakrishna
Colin Shah
Colin Shah
Shri P.R. Aqeel Ahmed
Shri P.R. Aqeel Ahmed
Dr. Vidya Yeravdekar
Dr. Vidya Yeravdekar
Alok Kirloskar
Alok Kirloskar
Pragati Khare
Pragati Khare
Devang Mody
Devang Mody
Vinay Kalantri
Vinay Kalantri

Promoting Millets in Diets: Best Practices across States/UTs of India

Promoting Millets in Diets: Best Practices across States/UTs of India

India is one of the world's top producers of millet and nutri-coarse grains, accounting for around 41% of total global production. In 2022, India produced over 17.60 million metric tonnes (MMT), accounting for around 80% of Asia's production. India is one of the top five millet exporters in the world, with exports increasing at a 3% CAGR over the last five years. Millet exports have climbed from US$ 400 million in 2020 to US$ 470 million in 2021. India is the world's second-largest exporter of "Shree Anna," i.e., millets. Millet exports from India have climbed at a CAGR of 12% over the last three years. By 2025, the millets market is anticipated to significantly increase from its present market size of over US$ 9 billion to over US$ 12 billion.

Millets are the most secure crops for small farmers since they are the hardiest, most resilient, and climate-adaptable crops in tough, hot (up to 50 degrees Celsius), and drought scenarios. The Government of India recognised millets as Nutri-Cereals by a gazette notice dated April 10, 2018 and celebrated the National Year of Millets in 2018. India has taken the lead in revitalising millets around the world. The Government of India's proposal for an International Year of Millets (IYoM) 2023 was supported by FAO Governing Bodies and was subsequently adopted by the 75th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in March 2021. The International Year of Millets will provide a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to raise awareness of millet cultivation, contribute to food security and nutrition, boost farmer incomes and livelihoods, and eradicate poverty, particularly in drought-prone or climate-change-affected areas. The government's production promotion efforts could result in a 0.56 MMT millet export surplus by 2030.  Diverting 0.56 million MT of millets towards the export of grains and millets-based value-added goods will result in a US$ 2 billion export opportunity for India by 2030.

Millets, also known as super grain, superfood, and wonder-grain, are among the oldest foods known to humans and were most likely the first grain used for household purposes. Millet is an important staple cereal crop for millions of smallholder dryland farmers. It is classified as Nutri-cereals or Dryland cereals because of its high nutritional value, and Smart Food since it is healthy for consumers, the environment, and farmers. Millets can help solve poor diet, environmental challenges such as climate change, water scarcity, environmental degradation, and rural poverty. They have a low carbon footprint and can grow and develop in warm environments with little water. They are climate-smart and hence provide a strong risk management method for farmers as compared to rice and wheat crops, which require more water and fertiliser. Pearl millet, Sorghum, Finger millet, small millets (Foxtail, Barnyard, Kodo, Proso, Little millet), and Pseudo millets (Buckwheat and Amaranth) are the main millets produced in India. There is a strong push in Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Telangana, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, and Gujarat.

In 2022, the global consumption of millets was estimated to be 90.43 million metric tonnes (MT). In 2022, India had the highest consumption of millets (17.75 Million MT), followed by China (13.70 Million MT). and Nigeria (8.80 Million MT). Global millet consumption was 25.66 million MT as feed and 64.76 million MT as FSI (Food, seed, and industrial usage). Animal feed accounted for almost 40% of total global sorghum consumption.


Note: The values of 2022-23 is provisional.

Source: Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA)


NITI Aayog

Types of Millets





Pearl Millet (Bajra)

Most of the pearl millet acreage is planted with hybrids, whereas varieties are favoured in drought-prone environments. After rice, wheat, and maize, pearl millet is the fourth most extensively grown food crop in India. More than 90% of the country's pearl millet acreage is grown in the key states of Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, and Haryana.


Sorghum (Jowar)

Sorghum (Sorghum bicolor), commonly known as Jowar, is cultivated as a cereal for consumption and in pastures for feed. India is the fifth-largest producer of sorghum, which is commonly grown in central and western Maharashtra, northern Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu during the wet and post-rainy seasons.


Finger Millet (Ragi)

Finger millet (Eleusine coracana (L.) Gaertn) is a cereal grass mostly produced for its grain. After wheat, rice, maize, sorghum, and bajra, it is the sixth most produced crop in India. The top finger millet farming states in India are Karnataka and Uttarakhand, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Jharkhand, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, and Maharashtra.


Small Millets

The small millets are based on the size of the grain. The group of small grains is represented by 5 millets-­ Foxtail Millet (It is the most digestible and non-allergic grain, wildly grown in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, and Bihar), Barnyard Millet (An all-season crop wildly grown in Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Bihar), Kodo Millet (It is the coarsest of all and is wildly grown in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Karnataka), Proso Millet (It is originated in India and is wildly grown in Madhya Pradesh, Eastern Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka), Little Millet (It is a quick growing, short duration cereal which is wildly grown in the tribal belt of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh)


Pseudo Millets

Pseudo millets can adapt to harsh conditions and have high nutritional quality. They are classified by 2 millets- Buckwheat(Kuttu), and Amaranthus (Chaulai). They both contain high protein content (13-15%) and are rich in amino acid lysine. Buckwheat contains rutin that controls blood pressure and possesses anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties. Amaranthus contains peptides which have cancer-preventive and antihypertensive properties.


Millets are very adaptable to a wide range of ecological circumstances and grow in rain-fed, desert climates with minimum water, fertiliser, and pesticide requirements.

  • Healthy, nutrient-rich crop: They offer a superior nutritional profile and bioactive flavonoids when compared to other cereals.
  • Millets have a low Glycaemic Index (GI) and are associated with lowering the risk of developing diabetes.
  • They are a good source of calcium, zinc, and minerals like iron.
  • Millets are gluten-free and can be taken by celiac disease patients.
  • Millet has been shown to help manage and prevent hyperlipidaemia and the risk of CVD.
  • Millets have been shown to help with weight loss, BMI reduction, and blood pressure control.
  • Millet is commonly consumed with legumes in India, resulting in mutual protein supplementation, increased amino acid content, and improved total protein digestibility.
  • Millet-based value-added goods in the ready-to-cook, ready-to-eat category are easily accessible and convenient for the urban population.
  •  Millets are used for food and fodder, making farming more efficient. Millet cultivation helps to lessen the carbon footprint.

Nutritional Composition of Millets
Indian millets are a nutritiously dense, drought-tolerant crop that is mostly grown in India's arid and semi-arid regions. They are small-seeded grasses. They are a key source of food and fodder for poor farmers in India and play a crucial part in the country's ecological and economic security. Given their high protein, vitamin, and mineral content, Indian millets are nutritionally superior to wheat and rice. They're also gluten-free and have a low glycemic index, making them suitable for celiac disease or diabetes sufferers.

Studies have demonstrated the role of polyphenols in antioxidant, anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and neuroprotective activities, all of which have been shown to be helpful in the prevention and treatment of diseases like cancer and cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, inflammatory diseases, metabolic syndrome, and Parkinson's disease. The millet grain contains a very high percentage of non-starch polysaccharides and dietary fibre, both of which aid in controlling weight.

The soluble fibre and millet protein support lower cholesterol levels and better gut health. Millets are gluten-free and a good option for those who have celiac disease. Ragi is a great source of calcium and is good for bone health, blood vessels, muscles, and nerves. Kodo millet has high iron. It purifies the body's immune system, lowers blood pressure, and purifies the blood. Foxtail millet promotes the health of neurons or brain cells. Little millet is helpful for the thyroid. According to the data, replacing around one-third of the recommended daily diet of (300 grammes) of cereals for diabetics (aged 20-79) and anaemic women (aged 15-49) would result in an opportunity for 100 grammes of millet intake per capita per day.

Source: NITI Aayog

Source: State Government Schemes

State Missions



Bhavantar Bharpayee Yojana


It is a one-of-a-kind Haryana Government Scheme designed to compensate horticulture farmers for the low price of their produce. The Scheme has been expanded to the Bajra crop beginning with the Kharif season of 2021 in order to help millet producers in the state.

Millet Mission


In September 2021, the Chhattisgarh government announced Mission Millet Chhattisgarh in an effort to establish the state as India's millet hub. With a total budgetary allocation of US$ 20.71 million (Rs. 170 crore) and an input grant of US$ 109.65 (Rs. 9000) per hectare, its main goal is to promote the growth of Kodo millet, small millet, and finger millet in the State.

Drought Mitigation Project (APDMP)

Andhra Pradesh

This programme is supported by IFAD and GoAP, a systematic and coordinated effort to address the general issue of persistent drought, enhance the incomes of 95,000 agricultural households, and strengthen their drought resistance. The project aims to improve agricultural productivity and adaptability in the 315 drought-prone gramme panchayats in the worst-affected 105 blocks of the southern AP districts of Ananthapuramu, Chittoor, Kadapa, Kurnool (the Rayalaseema region), and Prakasam.

Procurement and Processing for Value Addition

of Millets


Under the State Millet Mission and in accordance with the State Department of Agriculture, Uttarakhand State Co-operative Federation Ltd. (UCF) has set a goal of acquiring Finger Millet (Mandua) and Barnyard Millet (Jhingora), in addition to establishing and constructing a Multi-Grain Processing Facility for primary and secondary processing of traditional small millet varieties.

Organic Production and Certification of Millets


Farmers in the state's hilly regions primarily cultivate native crops such as finger millet, barnyard millet, amaranthus, and so on. According to the State Government, organic cultivation and certification of millets are done through centrally sponsored programmes like the Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY) in 1,657 clusters (33,140 hectare), Rashtriya Krishni Vikas Yojana (RKVY)-Organic Programme in 70,240 hectares, and Namami Gange Programme in 620 cluster (12,400 hectare).

Promoting Kodo and Little Millets

Madhya Pradesh

Under the Centre’s Nutri Cereal Sponsored Scheme, Madhya Pradesh is promoting millets, especially Kodo and Little millet. A non-profit organisation called Action for Social Advancement (ASA) has identified 30-40 villages in the tribal districts of Mandla and Dindori for millet promotion.

Millets Mission

Tamil Nadu

The National Agriculture Development Programme (NADP)'s Tamil Nadu Millet Mission was established in 2014–15 with the goal of reviving the cultivation of forgotten millets by providing incentives for their production and distribution, setting up frontline demonstrations, and training farmers in farming millets and its value-added products.

Millets Mission and

SHG Mission Shakti


Odisha Millet Mission (OMM), a special programme the state government of Odisha launched in 2017 with the goal of promoting millets in tribal areas that aims to revive millets on farms and plates while simultaneously foccon production, processing, consumption, marketing, and inclusion of millets in government initiatives. One of the primary initiatives to encourage millet consumption has been the convergence of Odisha Millets Mission and SHG Mission Shakti, in order to produce creative recipes, as well as train SHG women.

Promotion of Millets through NFSM-Nutri Cereals



Millet (Foxtail) is an important crop farmed in Nagaland for not only food but also medicine and animal feed. It can be grown in all the districts of Nagaland during the kharif season. Foxtail has been included in NFSM-Nutri-Cereals to stimulate and improve area, production, and productivity. Front-line demonstration, seed distribution, seed production, integrated nutrient management, integrated pest control, and training are all part of the NFSM-Nutri Cereals interventions.

Source: NITI Aayog

The Road Ahead
The Indian government has been making significant efforts to promote millets. A shift in government policy from food security to nutritional security is predicted to have a significant impact on the future of millets. Scalable models for millets missions can be found in the sub-missions for millets promoted by the Indian government and the pilot millets missions implemented by several state governments. The primary focus must continue increasing productivity to deliver cost-effective, high-quality raw materials to processors and exporters for the supply of value-added goods on a global scale. This call for intensive R&D efforts focusing on improving access to superior varieties, efficient processing technology, and increased product shelf-life, among other things. With a strong public-private collaboration and a comprehensive worldwide marketing effort, India has the potential to export US$ 2 billion in millet and millet-based products by 2030.