‘Exempting millets from GST can lift affordability, boosting consumption’

With millets set to play a crucial role in India’s nutritional and food security, stakeholders in nutri-cereals are looking at sustaining efforts to promote the cereal in a big way.

Bharat Biotech Chairman Krisha Ella raised the issue of exempting millet products from GST to boost consumption.

This was the general theme of the ‘NABARD-businessline Millet Conclave 2023’ held here which saw experts calling for measures to incentivise farmers to grow millets. Highlights also included raising consumer awareness on affordability and leveraging social media to lift exports.

NABARD Chairman Shaji K. V. said India’s target was to produce 45 million tonne (mt) of millets by 2030, from the 17 mt now.

India accounts for 41% of global millet production. “Millets have a crucial role to play in the nutritional security of the country,” Mr. Shaji added.

Himanshu Pathak, DG, Indian Council of Agricultural Research, said millets had lost sheen with the production of more rice and wheat after the green revolution. Global millets output was about 100 mt from almost 80 million hectares of land.

APEDA Chairman Abhishek Dev said India was aiming at shipping $100- million millets by 2025. In FY2022-23, millet exports stood at $75.43 million.

Experts felt incentivising millet farmers, innovation in agronomics and focus on marketing were the key drivers to boost output and consumption. Branding would boost exports.

Director of Indian Institute of Millets Research Tara Satyavati called upon investment in R&D for making products based on jowar and bajra for which there was a huge market.

Dr. Devraj J.P., Scientist – Division of Clinical Epidemiology, said the government had started providing millets to sportspersons, which was showing positive results. (The writer is with The Hindu businessline)