In a significant event held in New Delhi on July 13, 2023, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed in the presence of Shri Rajnath Singh, the Minister of Defense, and Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya, the Minister of Health & Family Welfare. The purpose of the MoU is to encourage the use of millets and promote healthy eating practices within the Armed Forces, ensuring the availability of safe and nutritious food.
During the event, both ministers unveiled a book called ‘Healthy Recipes for Defence,’ which aims to promote the consumption of millets, also known as Shree Anna, and highlight their numerous health benefits. The book contains a collection of nutritious recipes that will help promote the inclusion of millet in the diet of Armed Forces personnel.
This initiative seeks to emphasize the importance of adopting healthy eating habits and the advantages of incorporating millet into the diet of the Armed Forces. The signing of the MoU and the launch of the book demonstrate the commitment to encouraging the consumption of millet and promoting a healthier lifestyle among the defense personnel.
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The main objective of the MoU is to raise awareness among personnel about the nutritional benefits of incorporating millet into their diets. This will involve introducing millet-based food options in messes, canteens, and other food outlets under the Ministry of Defense (MoD).
- As part of this collaboration, training programs will be conducted for food handlers and chefs in the Armed Forces to ensure adherence to food safety and hygiene standards outlined in the Food Safety and Standards Act of 2006.
- This joint effort reflects a shared commitment to the health and well-being of the Armed Forces, enabling them to remain strong and resilient in their service to the nation.
- The MoU will also encourage Armed Forces families and the wider community to adopt nutritious diets, make healthy food choices, and prioritize food safety.
- The book ‘Healthy Recipes for Defence,’ developed by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), contains a variety of millet-based dishes.
- This resource will be beneficial for different canteens and food outlets operating under the Ministry of Defense.
- Given the challenging terrains and diverse climatic conditions faced by defense personnel, the importance of dietary variety is significant. Millets are known for their nutritional value and can contribute to a well-balanced and diverse diet.
What is a Millet?
- Millet is a term used to describe several small-seeded annual grasses that are grown as grain crops in dry areas across different regions.
- Some of the commonly found millets in India include Ragi, Jowar, Sama, Bajra, and Variga.
- These grains were among the first domesticated plants for food and have been discovered during the Indus civilization.
- Millets are a traditional food for around 600 million people in Asia and Africa and are grown in about 131 countries worldwide.
- India is the largest producer of millets in the world, accounting for 20% of global production and 80% of Asia’s production.
International Year of Millets in 2023
- India proposed observing an International Year of Millets in 2023, which was approved by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in 2018.
- The United Nations General Assembly has declared 2023 as the International Year of Millets, following the adoption of a United Nations Resolution.
- India led the proposal, which was supported by over 70 nations.
- The objectives of the International Year of Millets are
- to increase awareness of the contribution of millet to food security and nutrition,
- inspire stakeholders to improve sustainable production and quality of millet
- focus on enhanced investment in research and development and extension services to achieve the other two aims.
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Who declared 2023 as a year of millets?
The objectives of the International Year of Millets are to raise awareness about the nutritional and health benefits of millets, inspire stakeholders to improve sustainable production and quality of millets, and focus on enhanced investment in research and development and extension services to achieve these aims.