The United Nations dedicates 2023 as the year of Millets to encourage efforts to scale up the production of millets to fight hunger and food security. International year of millets (IYM2023) contributes to “the 2030 agenda for sustainable development and sustainable development goals (SDGs)”1. Millets are known as “ancient grains” because they are known to be the first grains cultivated by man dating back to 5500 BCE1. Millets are primarily grown in the continents of Asia and Africa and today in some parts of the Americas and Europe.
India’s most popular millet in colloquial terms is ragi, bajra, and jowar. However, we forgot millets since they were coarse and didn’t qualify to fight with the smooth texture of its counterpart’s wheat and rice. Millets have historically been shown to be resilient to climate change. These grains are also known to be loaded with micro and macronutrients, are gluten-free, and offer high dietary fiber.
In this series, we will try to break down and understand the role of millets in the Indian plate over the years. We heard some generations had no acquaintance with the “ancient grain” since we were busy romanticizing the greatness of wheat, rice, and maize.
We are optimistic about the joint efforts by the government, industry, academia, farmers, non-profits, and consumers; we can see the change and embrace millets and make them a part of our meals.
We plan to publish 12 articles throughout the year to support the International Year of Millets (IYOM2023) and learn more about Millets.