Good practices on millet mainstreaming: NITI Aayog and ICRISAT to share expertise and knowledge

NITI Aayog ​ and ICRISAT will share their collective expertise and knowledge to contribute to the Mapping and Exchange of Good Practices (MEGP) initiative for millets mainstreaming in Asia and Africa. ​

The National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog) – the apex public policy think tank of the Government of India, in collaboration with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in India, has launched the innovative Mapping and Exchange of Good Practices (MEGP) initiative for millets mainstreaming in Asia and Africa to enhance food security and nutrition.

The initiative will support the documentation of good practices and lessons learned and present an opportunity to share experiences among developing countries across Asia and Africa.

NITI Aayog invited ICRISAT to contribute by co-hosting a webinar on 29 August 2022, in recognition of ICRISAT’s five decades of impact creation and delivery around millets.

Mr Sanjay Agarwal, Assistant Director General, ICRISAT, reaffirmed the Institute’s commitment to the initiative.

“Millets are nature’s gift to mankind, and they have an important role in contributing towards food and nutritional security,” said Mr Agarwal in his keynote address ‘Millets Mainstreaming: International Perspective’.

Mr Agarwal spoke of the Institute’s Smart Food initiative and informed that Dr Jacqueline Hughes, Director General, ICRISAT is the Vice Chair of the Global Committee of the FAO, which is planning international events to celebrate and raise awareness of the important crop during the International Year of Millets 2023. ​ He also highlighted the Institute’s advanced research in varietal development and crop management technologies with an emphasis on production, value-addition, storage, transportation, packaging, and distribution.

Screenshot of the virtual meeting held on 29 August 2022. (L) Mr Sanjay Agarwal, ADG, ICRISAT, and (R) the team from NITI Aayog.

Screenshot of the virtual meeting held on 29 August 2022. (L) Mr Sanjay Agarwal, ADG, ICRISAT, and (R) the team from NITI Aayog.

“Given the vast experience and leadership of ICRISAT in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, we can adopt a lot of learnings from ICRISAT in mainstreaming millets, without reinventing the wheel,” said Dr Neelam Patel, Senior Adviser, Agriculture & Allied Sector Vertical, NITI Aayog.

Dr Neelam Patel laid out the objectives of the initiative and the expectations from the webinar. Her team showcased and demonstrated the portal and process to submit applications.

Ms Pradnya Paithankar, Head, Climate Change, Disaster Risk Reduction & South-South Cooperation, WFP, India in her address acknowledged the global initiatives that the Government of India has taken to harness the full potential of millets.

“This initiative is part of the five-year partnership of WFP with NITI Aayog to strengthen climate-resilient agriculture to enhance food and nutrition security in India, with a specific focus on millets mainstreaming,” said Ms Pradnya Paithankar. ​

Mr Pranay Sinha, Programme Policy Officer, WFP, India gave a detailed orientation on Millets Mainstreaming framework and MEGP Initiative. ​

Dr Arvind Kumar, Deputy Director General- Research, ICRISAT, welcomed the initiative and affirmed ICRISAT’s support through the sharing of best practices and lessons learned, which could be replicated in other locations.

“The exchange of ideas through this knowledge-sharing platform can be a driver for bringing in new initiatives through South-South Cooperation,” said Dr Kumar.

More details on this initiative are available on the web portal https://agri.niti.gov.in/MEGP2022 ​

For the recording of the proceedings click here ​ ​

Banner image: Array of millets in ICRISAT’s portfolio.

This work aligns with SDG 2

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