NITI Aayog- UN WFP agreement to diversify Food Basket

NITI Aayog and United Nations World Food Programme (UN WFP) have agreed to diversify the food basket. Both the organisation signed a Statement of Intent on December 20, 2021.

Key Points

  • Partnership between NITI Aayog and UN WFP focuses to mainstream the millets and support India in taking a lead internationally in knowledge exchange amid the recognition of 2023 as an International Year of Millets.
  • This partnership also aims to build resilient livelihoods for small-farmers and adaptation capacities towards climate change as well as transforming food systems.
  • The Statement of Intent focuses on strategic and technical collaboration between both the parties, in order to strengthen climate resilient agriculture for enhanced food & nutrition security across India.

National Year of Millets

Government of India had observed 2018 as a year of millets, to encourage and promote the millet production. GoI also spearheaded the resolution of UNGA, for declaring 2023 as International Year of Millets.

Steps taken by Government to promote millets

Governments have taken several steps to promote millets:

  1. Establishment of centre for Excellence,
  2. Integration of nutri-cereals with National Food Security Act and
  3. Establishment of Millet Mission in multiple states.

Despite these steps, several challenges exist in terms of production, distribution and adaptability among consumers.

What can be done to fight the challenges?

Under the distribution system, there is a need to shift the focus of food distribution programmes from ‘calories fundamentalism’ to “provide a more diversified food basket, such as coarse grains and millets for improving nutritional status among pre-school children and women of reproductive age. The partnership between NITI Aayog and WFP seeks to identify and address these challenges in an effective manner.

Way Ahead

NITI Aayog and UN WFP will jointly conduct following activities:

  1. Joint development of a compendium of good practices around millets.
  2. Provide technical support to scale up millets mainstreaming through intense engagement in select states with the help of state governments, IIMR & other associated institutions.

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