APEDA inks MoU with ICAR-Indian Institute of Millet Research

APEDA inks MoU with ICAR-Indian Institute of Millet Research

Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with ICAR-Indian Institute of Millet Research (ICAR-IIMR) to increase exports through quality production and processing, which is expected to boost value addition and farmer income.

The MoU's primary objective is to promote commercial cultivation of processable varieties created by ICAR-IIMR for export purposes, which is likely to result in increased value addition for millets, a cereal with high nutritional value.

Additionally, the MoU envisions the establishment of market connections with farmers and Farmer Producer Organizations. A joint coordination committee comprised of officials from APEDA and ICAR-IIMR would be established to carry out the MoU's objectives.

The MoU's purpose is to establish an export-oriented ecosystem with the necessary supply chain connections, technological repository, clinical investigations, awareness creation, policy changes, and entrepreneurial pipeline.

Both APEDA and ICAR-IIMR would contribute to the development of information about markets, consumer preferences, and emerging segments, as well as to the analysis of export competitiveness, market volatility, and market intelligence on standards, regulations, and trade policies.

The establishment of a Millet Export Promotion Forum in partnership with all key stakeholders with the objective of finding export clusters capable of sourcing large quantities of output and connecting stakeholders with FPOs would be undertaken jointly by both reputable organisations.

The MoU focuses on sensitization, promotion, and policy advocacy in order to influence new policy changes and convergences in favour of millet exports.

Both organisations would collaborate to design an export plan and train existing millet processors and entrepreneurs on various export policies and schemes aimed at growing millets exports.

The development and implementation of novel frameworks for enhancing millets exports, such as traceability and artificial intelligence, would be undertaken. Under the terms of the MoU, mentoring initiatives for start-ups to ensure export compliance are also anticipated.

ICAR-IIMR would be responsible for profiling millets producers or farmers in all main millets growing regions of the country and for enhancing the seed supply chain.

Millets are high-nutrient cereal crops classified as small-seeded grasses. Sorghum, Pearl Millet, Ragi, Small Millet, Foxtail Millet, Barnyard Millet, and Kodo Millet are all important types of millets.

Recently, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution declaring 2023 the International Year of Millets (IYM) in order to raise awareness of millets' health advantages and adaptability to changing climatic conditions worldwide. With IYM approaching, it is projected that demand for millets will increase significantly in a number of countries.

ICAR-IIMR has been involved in all stages of the millet value chain. ICARIIMR has piloted many interventions to establish a value chain for these neglected crops, reviving millets for nutritional security in the country.

Given the potential for increased exports of millets and millet products and the government's emphasis on the development of the millet sector, APEDA has been developing a long-term strategy for the promotion of millets and millet products in collaboration with ICAR-IIMR and other stakeholders such as the National Institute of Nutrition, CFTRI, and FPOs.

APEDA has inked a number of Memorandums of Understanding with Tamil Nadu Agricultural University in Coimbatore and the University of Agricultural Sciences in Bangalore to enhance the export potential of various agricultural products. Among others, the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Limited (NAFED).