By Summit Post
Principal Secretary, Agriculture, Government of Haryana, Republic of India has said that, Nigeria, as the second richest and most populous country in Africa, is potentially positioned to lead the most desired Millet Revolution.
Likhi stated this on January 28, 2023, at the Millets Food Festival and Cooking Competition, organised by the High Commission of India in Abuja, Nigeria. Present to grace the occasion, were the members of the Indian community, and Nigerian dignitaries. On the occasion, several restaurants put up their stalls and served food to the participants to promote the millets.
Speaking on the occasion, Likhi stated that the “Millet Event” in Nigeria, the African continent’s second richest and most populous country, could serve as a springboard for the promotion and production of environmentally friendly, healthy “nutri-cereals” in the true spirit of South-South Collaboration and Cooperation on Millets. Millets, he says, have been a traditional staple for hundreds of millions of people in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia for 7000 years, and are now being revived as an alternative to the staple foods Rice and Wheat, which are grown all over the world.
Millets, according to Likhi, were among the first plants to be domesticated and are now referred to as “nutri-cereals” due to their high nutritional content.
Likhi informed the delegates that following the Nigerian Success Story, India’s Ministry of Agriculture will hold similar promotional events in collaboration with Indian Embassies/High Commissions/Consulates in other African countries such as Egypt, South Africa, Algeria, Morocco, Ethiopia, Kenya, Angola, Ghana, and Sudan to address the 54-member strong African Continent’s food security challenge.
A cooking competition was also organized by the High Commission of India in which 16 participants took part.
International Year of Millets provide a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to increase global production, ensure efficient processing and consumption
The event was organised in collaboration with a high-level Indian delegation led by Abhilaksh Likhi, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, who is in Abuja for the event.
To promote millets, several restaurants set up stalls and served food (prepared with millets) to participants on this occasion. The event also featured exhibits from IITA, ICRISAT, Niger State, the Farmers Association of Nigeria, and the Nigerian Export Promotion Council. In addition to this showcasing, many partner organisations set up food stalls, including a Niger State stall showcasing Niger State Cuisine. The High Commission of India also organised a cooking competition, with 16 participants.
The competition’s jury consisted of the spouses of Ambassadors from South Korea, Indonesia, and the Czech Republic, as well as an IITA Nutrition Expert and the Chef of the Johnwood Hotel. Several cultural performances by Niger State artists and the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture were also included in today’s event.
As part of the Nigeria Millet Initiative, the High Commission of India in Abuja organised this event in collaboration with the Niger State. The event was attended by HRH Alh. Dr Yahaya Abubaker, Etsu Nupe & Chairman, Nigeria Millet Initiatives, Alhaji Ahmed Ibrahim Matane, Secretary to the Government of Niger State, Abubakar G. Abdullahi, Director Federal Department of Agriculture, Nigeria, and several Ambassadors and Traditional Rulers. HRH Alh. Dr Yahaya Abubaker, Abhilaksh Likhi, Additional Secretary, Director Federal Department of Agriculture and High Commissioner delivered their remarks on the occasion.
In his brief remarks, the High Commissioner stated that the United Nations General Assembly declared 2023 to be the International Year of Millets, which was proposed by India and supported by over 70 countries.
To promote millets, the International Year of Millets will provide a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to increase global production, ensure efficient processing and consumption, promote better crop rotation utilisation, and encourage better connectivity throughout food systems to promote millets as a key component of the food basket.
The proposal for the International Year of Millets (IYM) 2023, spearheaded by India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was approved by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). It should also be noted that the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) hosted an opening ceremony for the International Year of Millets – 2023 (IYM2023) in Rome, Italy.
It should be noted that Indian embassies in over 140 countries will participate in the celebration of IYM in 2023 by holding side events involving the Indian Diaspora through exhibitions, seminars, talks, panel discussions, and the participation of local chambers, food bloggers, importers of food items, and local restaurants, among other things.