FAO says more millet output can support livelihoods of small farmers
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has declared 2023 as the International Year of Millets (IYM). During the opening ceremony of the IYM at its headquarters in Rome, FAO stated that as the global agrifood systems face challenges to feed an ever-growing global population, resilient cereals like millets provide an affordable and nutritious option, and efforts need to be scaled-up to promote their cultivation.
Millets encompass a diverse group of cereals including pearl, proso, foxtail, barnyard, little, kodo, browntop, finger and Guinea millets, as well as fonio, sorghum (or great millet) and teff. They are an important source of nourishment for millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.
FAO mentioned that greater millet production can support the livelihoods of smallholder farmers and can provide decent jobs for women and youth. The revenue created can boost economic growth. With the possibility of a health cereal alternative with millets, the risks associated with production shocks can be mitigated, it said.
- A diverse group of small-grained dryland cereals
- Climate resilient, tolerant of poor soils, drought and harsh growing conditions
- Adaptable to different production environments, without high fertilizer and pesticide needs
- Integral to ancestral traditions, cultures and indigenous knowledge
- Nutritious “nutri-cereals” that provide dietary fibre, antioxidants, protein and minerals, including iron
- Good for human and animal health (through food and feed)
- Gluten free with a low glycaemic index to address intolerances and diabetes
- Diverse in taste and the products and recipes they are based on
- A source of income for marginal production areas in rural, urban, regional and international trade
- A way to create decent jobs for women and youth through innovative processing and marketing opportunities
- A way to transform local agrifood systems for better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life, leaving no one behind
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