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FAO Hosts Closing Ceremony of International Year of Millets, Celebrating Global Success and Future Prospects

FAO Hosts Closing Ceremony of International Year of Millets, Celebrating Global Success and Future Prospects

Rome:  The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) commemorated the successful culmination of the International Year of Millets (IYM) 2023 with a grand closing ceremony held at the FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy. The event, which took place on March 29, was attended by esteemed dignitaries from around the world, marking the conclusion of a year-long celebration dedicated to promoting the consumption, cultivation, and utilization of millets worldwide.

The high-level hybrid event allowed participants to join both in-person and virtually, fostering global participation and collaboration. Among the distinguished guests was Smt. Maninder Kaur Dwivedi, Additional Secretary of the Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare from the Government of India, who highlighted India’s vibrant millet ecosystem and its role in promoting and adopting millets.

In his opening remarks, Dr. QU Dongyu, Director-General of FAO, commended the international community for their dedication to advancing millet-related initiatives, emphasizing the critical role of millets in achieving food security and nutrition for all. Minister and Permanent Representative of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to FAO, Mr. Yaya Adisa Olaitan Olaniran, emphasized the significance of integrating millet cultivation into sustainable agricultural practices in Nigeria, shedding light on strategies for implementation.

A highlight of the ceremony was a captivating video showcasing the diverse range of activities and events organized under the International Year of Millets 2023 across different regions, underscoring the global impact of the initiative.

Deputy Director-General of FAO, Ms. Beth Bechdol, expressed gratitude to all participants for their unwavering commitment to the success of the International Year of Millets 2023 in her concluding remarks. She emphasized the importance of sustaining momentum in promoting millets beyond the designated year.

The International Year of Millets was declared by the United Nations General Assembly in March 2021, following a proposal by India and backed by more than 70 countries. Throughout 2023, the initiative raised awareness about the nutritional and health benefits of millets, their suitability for cultivation under adverse climatic conditions, and the importance of creating sustainable market opportunities for producers and consumers.

The closing ceremony served as a platform to assess the achievements and lessons learned from IYM 2023 and to identify priorities for future investments, particularly in addressing constraints and strengthening millets value chains.

A series of insightful discussions and presentations highlighted the importance of millets in achieving sustainable development goals and their emergence as a ‘Global Superfood.’ Dr. C Tara Satyavathi, Director of ICAR-IIMR, shared insights into India’s research and development endeavors to develop a robust millets value chain during a Roundtable Discussion on ‘Research and Development for the Millets Sector.’

In addition to discussions, a special exhibition featuring showcase of millet-value added products from around the world and a live cooking demonstration were organized, providing participants with a tangible experience of the versatility and potential of millets.

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