NEW DELHI, 13 February 2023: Today the food that the world once dismissed as food for the poor and birds are now being used for health purposes. That’s why the year 2023 has been designated as the International Millet Year”, Prahlad Singh Patel, Minister of State for Ministry of Food Processing Industry and Jal Shakti said at the national conference organized by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) recently.
Addressing the conference on Plant-Based Food Capturing Avenues to Intensify the Food Processing Industry conference today, Prahlad Singh Patel said that this sector is said to have enormous market development potential. “We were pushed away from our traditional food habits in the name of food security, and we adopted new food habits without question. Today, we must pay attention to our history. Our diet included coarse grains such as maize, millet, wheat, and rice. History bears witness to this. Today, the world has put its stamp on the same food; 2023 is designated as the International Millet Year, and we should be proud of it,” he said.
"When it comes to millet, the world is dealing with ailments like diabetes, cholesterol, and other diseases; accepting food as nutritious food, Whole grain is the ideal food for preventing such diseases,” he added.
Patel also has the additional responsibility of the Ministry of Jal Shakti. He stated that “we were also misled about the water in the fields. There were reports that emphasized the convenience of increasing water to the fields. There is no doubt that irrigation should be available, but what matters is what crops will be grown. We concentrated our efforts on water-intensive crops such as sugarcane, paddy, and wheat. Today, we only export crops that use the most water. We must consider what we will leave to the next generation.”
There were eminent personalities present from various industries, including Mr. Arun Om Lal, Co-Chair, ASSOCHAM’s Council on Food Processing and Value Addition & President Corporate Affairs and Communications, Hexagon Nutrition Ltd; Ms. Palak Mehta, Founder & CEO, Vegan First; Varun Deshpande, Managing Director, The Good Food Institute (GFI; Akshat Khandelwal, Member, ASSOCHAM and Founder & CEO, Nuflower Foods and Nutrition Pvt. Ltd.
The adoption of plant-based foods, claiming that they are much cheaper than meat products and are also healthier. People in the country and around the world are increasingly turning to plant-based foods as health awareness grows,” stated the conference.