We can have a big impact if we diversify staples.
But we can’t do this with just any food, it needs to be with a Smart Food i.e. food that fills all criteria of being
Good for you
Good for the planet
Good for the farmer
This requires dedicated effort on just a couple of Smart Foods initially to build the value chains for mainstreaming.
Millets & Sorghum are selected as the first Smart Foods to bring back as staples and have a major impact on nutrition, environment and rural livelihoods.
India’s proposal for observing 2023 as International Year of Millets approved by UNGA. Bring back jowar, ragi, bajra and other nutri cereals to your plate for your health and enhanced remuneration for farmers@AgriGoI @nstomar pic.twitter.com/onCKaTK9Am
— Sanjay Agarwal (@SecyAgriGoI) March 3, 2021
Learn more about the International Year of Millets.
These Smart Food crops are highly nutritious and target some of the largest micronutrient deficiencies and needs, especially of women and children.
Smart Food are good for the small holder farmers because
Given that staples may typically constitute 70 per cent of a meal and are often eaten three times a day, diversifying them can have a pronounced impact on overcoming malnutrition and poverty and coping with climate change and environmental degradation.
The major constraints for these dryland cereals and grain legumes that are holding them back from reaching their full potential are – very little investment, significantly underdeveloped value chains, and the image of the food as old fashioned, especially the case for millets and sorghum.
More investment and policy support have significant potential to increase yields, provide better nutrition, fulfill multiple uses (food, feed, biofuels, brewing), develop modern processed food products and integrate farmers into the value chain.
We need a dedicated focused effort initially on a couple of Smart Foods to not just popularize but bring into mainstream. The strategy adopted to achieve this involves:
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