Ahead of the annual Kharif conference scheduled to be held on April 30, the ministry of agriculture and the Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) have decided to jointly promote bio-fortified varieties cereals and pulses through the revamped National Food Security Mission (NFSM).
To address the issue of nutritional security along with food security, the agriculture ministry has already decided to change NFSM to National Food and Nutritional Security Mission (NFNSM). Agriculture secretary Sanjay Agarwal appraised officials and scientists about the preparatory steps taken by the ministry for observance of International Year of Millets in 2023 and requisite convergence modalities, according to an official statement.
India has been harping on popularising consumption of nutritional cereals like millets and sorghum to fight the growing incidence of hunger and has also launched a programme Poshan Abhiyan to achieve targeted results by improving its position in the Global Hunger Index ranking. In the 2020 Global Hunger Index, India ranks 94th out of the 107 countries.
At an interface workshop on Tuesday, ICAR and the agriculture ministry also resolved to plan a joint strategy for the next Kharif season, amid the prediction of normal monsoon by the India Meteorological Department. Sowing of Kharif crops starts with the onset of monsoon that normally arrives on June 1 and covers the entire country in 40-45 days.
Agarwal highlighted the need for reducing the cost of cultivation by using appropriate pest and disease-resistant varieties along with the adoption of biofortified varieties. He also suggested scientists enhance the productivity of Kharif crops especially pulses and oilseeds.