Indian Delegation Visits Nigeria for Taking South-South Cooperation Project on Millets to Next Stage

February 21, 2023

India and Africa’s complementary sectoral priorities and similar roles in the evolving global food markets present numerous opportunities for collaboration in the agriculture sector, particularly in areas of millets

A high-level Indian delegation led by the Additional Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Government of India, Abhilaksh Likhi recently visited Abuja, Nigeria for taking the two countries’ South-South cooperation project on millets to the next higher stage.

In a departure statement to Nigeria for a four-day ‘Millet-Specific Visit’ from 26 to 29 January 2023, Likhi said, it comes in the wake of India kick-starting the International Year of Millets 2023 on the very first day of this year with focused activities being undertaken by Central ministries, state governments, union territories and Indian Embassies.

Nigeria is the 2nd richest and most populous country of the 54 nations in the African continent and it could become a model of South-South Cooperation on Millets along with other Indian important partners like Egypt, South Africa, Algeria, Morocco, Ethiopia, Kenya, Angola, Ghana and Sudan to address the ‘lack of food security’, which remains one of the most formidable challenges facing the African continent. India and Africa’s complementary sectoral priorities and similar roles in the evolving global food markets present numerous opportunities for cooperation on millets production and promotion.

The government of India sponsored the proposal for International Year of Millets (IYM) 2023 which was accepted by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). The declaration has been instrumental for the Government of India to be at the forefront in celebrating the IYM. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also shared his vision to make IYM 2023 a ‘People’s Movement’ alongside positioning India as the ‘Global Hub for Millets’.

It may be recalled that Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), organised an opening ceremony for the International Year of Millets – 2023 (IYM2023) in Rome, Italy. An Indian delegation led by Shobha Karandlaje, Minister of State for Agriculture & Farmers Welfare along with Shubha Thakur, Joint Secretary (Crops), DA&FW and other senior officials were present at the opening ceremony. During the event, India’s ceremonial message by Prime Minister Narendra Modi was conveyed by Shobha Karandlaje.

It may be underlined that embassies of India across more than 140 countries will be participating in celebration of IYM during 2023 by conducting side events on IYM involving the Indian diaspora through exhibitions, seminars, talks, panel discussions along with the participation of local chambers, food bloggers, importers of food items and local restaurants.

Dwelling on his Nigeria visit, Likhi said, the High Commission of India in Abuja and Consulate General of India in Lagos, as part of the promotion of IYM, have planned a Millets Food Festival and a Millets Food preparation competition during this high-level visit to Nigeria. The Millets Food Festival will be held at the High Commission premises and provide stalls for preparation with invitees including both Nigerian dignitaries and the Indian community.

Likhi said, Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister, Narendra Singh Tomar delivering a valedictory address on 24th January 2023 at India International Science Festival in Bhopal pointed out that IYM-23 is happening at a time when India has assumed the G-20 presidency when we will be showcasing India’s prowess, not only in agriculture and allied sectors, fisheries, animal husbandry and dairying but in every sector including universally recognise India’s soft power to the world. The spirit of the ‘Whole of Government’ and ‘Whole of Society’ approach is truly being seen in the celebrations of the International Year of Millets 2023, Likhi pointed out.

It may also be recalled that the President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali met Narendra Singh Tomar on 12th January 2023 during his week-long visit to India and offered 200 acres of land in his country for exclusive cultivation and production of millets for the private sector in honour of the United Nations declaring the year 2023 as the International Year of Millet (IYM).

Dr Irfaan Ali also asked Tomar if he would be truly honoured, if Prime Minister Narendra Modi would agree to address the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) scheduled in February 2023 to present India’s vision on agriculture and food security. He said, even a virtual address by Modi to 17 heads of states will go a long way in promoting and popularising millets in the Caribbean community. He also offered to have a session with Indian agriculture minister for a talk on millets.

Originally posted by Agriculture Post. To read the original article, please click here.