Shaping Perspectives on Practice and Policy for Millets in India

India is the world’s largest millet producer and its average production of 16.93 million metric tons during 2019-22 was about 11% higher than the production during 2014-18. Though productivity has markedly increased over the years, the area under millet cultivation has significantly reduced. 

Having observed 2018 as its ‘National Year of Millets’, India presented the proposal for the ‘International Year of Millets’ (IYOM) in the United Nations. At the 75th General Assembly session of the UN in March 2021, the year 2023 was declared IYOM to increase global awareness of the benefits of consuming and growing millets. 

Since 2010, Reliance Foundation has been focusing on sustainable agriculture and strengthening of food systems through a collaborative approach with various stakeholders. The work with millet small and marginal farmers is another step to build resilience in the face of changing climate while enhancing the nutritional status of communities. 

On December 19, 2023, diverse stakeholders from across India’s millet landscape called for sustaining the momentum generated during the International Year of Millets 2023 (IYOM) at a roundtable discussion organised by Reliance Foundation. 

The discussion saw policymakers, farmer representatives, development sector stakeholders, researchers and industry representatives echo the need for greater collaboration, increased farmer-focused efforts, and deliberated successes and challenges from both practice and policy within India’s millet landscape.

A publication, ‘Fostering Resilience for Sustainability: Reliance Foundation's Millet Experiences’, that documents learnings from millet interventions in different states was released on the occasion. Fostering Resilience for Sustainability showcases end-to-end interventions that include making quality seed accessible to farmers, providing continued technical support, strengthening market linkages, empowering women’s agency and building awareness of millets.