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World food day (WFD) is celebrated every year around the world on 16th October, the founding date of the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations, as an actionable day against world hunger. Every year WFD is celebrated with a theme to fight global hunger. The theme for the year 2019 is on healthy diets to achieve #zerohunger.
Focussing on the role of agriculture and food production with nutrition and food security, Tomio Shichiri, Representative, of FAO said “While food grain production in India has increased over five times since independence to almost 284 million tonnes in 2018-19, but there is a high rate of malnutrition in the country. Therefore, there is a need for diversification toward nutri-rich crop production such as millets and pulses. The focus must not only be on increased food grain production but to also increase the production of targeted Nutri-cereals (nutrition-rich crops) such as millets. FAO and the Government of India have proposed to declare Year-2023 as the International Year of Millets, which are one of the most climate-resilient traditional crops of India. Promotion of homestead gardens and diversification of agriculture production towards fruits, vegetables and aquaculture can contribute towards addressing the malnutrition”.
Meera Mishra, Country Coordinator, IFAD India Country Office said, “Changing patterns of consumption directly benefits farmers production system and income. Quoting an example of millet production in Madhya Pradesh, Ms. Meera said- tribal Baiga women in the remote Dindori district in MP grew minor millets- Kodo and Kutki- using traditional practices. Support from government and IFAD program has increased the production and engagement. Earlier only 750 farmers were doing millet farming in 750 acres of land and today these numbers have increased by 10 times to 7500 farmers and 7500 acres of land. After being trained in better agronomic practices as well as processing, packaging, and marketing, the farmers were able to increase the demand for these millets in local and nearby markets. These minor millets are climate-resilient crops and more suitable for the agro-climatic conditions in the district.”