Global Warming Solutions: Harnessing the Power of Millets

The tide has now turned. If millets were our first food, they are now seen by the scientific community as foods of the future. What is most exciting about the new research on millets is that the humble grain, emerged as the answer to modern food security. Experts are unanimous in their belief that the millet may have a role to play in protecting us against crop failure, scarcity and famine. It may be the most resilient of crops at a time when global warming is a looming spectre. The awareness and education on millets, therefore, is critical in transforming our futures.

Fortunately, there are efforts under way on multiple levels to restore millets to their rightful place. The government has taken up programmes to push their demand in India and globally, launching campaigns to educate consumers to change their mindsets. There are efforts to educate farmers about better varieties and growing techniques. The corporate sector is also an active partner in the process—food manufacturers and the hospitality industry have taken up the task of promoting millets through their products and menus.

ITC, which has health and sustainability built into its mission, has played a prominent role in this sphere. As a responsible organisation, it has been ITC’s constant endeavour to support the National Nutritional priorities emanatinout of India’s commitments towards the UNSDG 2030 and Mission Poshan 2.0.

ITC’s efforts overall are in sync with the Seven Sutras put in place by the Government of India. In the run up to the International Year of Millets 2023, a charter has been rolled out by the concerned ministries and departments:

  1. Enhancement of production and productivity
  2. Nutrition and health benefits
  3. Value addition, processing and recipe development
  4. Entrepreneurship, start-ups & collective development
  5. Awareness creation including branding, labelling and promotion
  6. International outreach
  7. Policy interventions for mainstreaming millets.

ITC’s Foods Business Division, as a part of its core commercial strategy continues to build a model that has food offerings that are healthy and sustainable. The company sees millets as a transformative tool and has taken on the mission to build a culture of millet consumption through its own product portfolio. The consumer giant now produces staples, noodles, vermicelli, flours, biscuits, confectionery and snacks using millets. This is in keeping with its core purpose of ‘Help India Eat Better’.

ITC’s Food and Agri businesses are harnessing their energies in creating awareness and understanding about millets among farmers, growers and end consumers. ITC has made it its mission to work closely with farmers to create new robust cultivars of millets and also educate them about the benefits of growing them. Farmers working with ITC’s Agri division now see millets as a climate resilient crop and witness their potential for yielding higher incomes.

The company’s goal has been to educate the public on every aspect of these superfoods—varieties, nutritional benefits and their role as a sustainable, smart crop. ITC also works closely with media platforms to spread awareness on the role of millets as a conscious food. The aim is also to build consciousness about how farmers benefit from cultivating and selling millets.

ITC Hotels proudly promotes millet based dishes as an integral part of its culinary repertoire.