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About India’s Millet Exports

Focus: GS III- Agriculture

Why in News?

The year 2023 was celebrated as the International Year of Millets (IYM – 2023). 

  • The Government of India has taken a proactive multi-stakeholder engagement approach to achieve the objectives of IYM 2023 and taking Indian millets globally.
  • APEDA provides assistance to its registered exporters, including those of millets, under Agriculture & Processed Food Export Promotion Scheme of APEDA.

Agricultural and Processed Foods Export Development Authority (APEDA)

Nodal:  Ministry of Commerce and Industry

  • The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) was established by the Government of India under the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority Act, 1985. 
  • The Authority has its headquarters in New Delhi.
  • A Chairman is appointed by the Central Government.


  • APEDA is mandated with the responsibility of export promotion and development of the scheduled products viz. fruits, vegetables and their products; meat and meat products; poultry and poultry products; dairy products; confectionery, biscuits and bakery products; honey, jaggery and sugar products; cocoa and its products, chocolates of all kinds; alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages; cereal and cereal products; groundnuts, peanuts and walnuts, pickles, papads and chutneys; guar gum; floriculture and floriculture products; herbal and medicinal plants.
  • APEDA has been entrusted with the responsibility to monitor import of sugar.
  • Registration of persons as exporters of the scheduled products and fixing of standards and specifications for the scheduled products for the purpose of exports.
  • Carrying out inspection of meat and meat products in slaughterhouses, processing plants, storage premises and improving packaging of the scheduled products.



  • Millets, traditional grains consumed in the Indian subcontinent for over 5000 years, are hardy, rain-fed crops with low water and fertility requirements compared to other cereals.
  • They encompass sorghum, pearl millet, finger millet, and other minor millets collectively known as Nutri cereals.

Production of Millets:

  • Millets are associated with climate resilience, and there is a pressing need to enhance their productivity through research and development, crop care, and a robust supply chain.
  • Globally, millets are predominantly grown in the Asian region, with India, Nigeria, and China being the largest producers, accounting for over 55% of global production. In recent years, millet production has surged in Africa.
  • In India, pearl millet ranks as the fourth-most widely cultivated food crop after rice, wheat, and maize, making millets available throughout the country.

Benefits of Millets:

  • Millets are highly nutritious, non-glutinous, and non-acid-forming foods with nutraceutical and health-promoting properties, especially high fiber content.
  • Millets serve as a prebiotic, hydrating the colon, aiding in cholesterol reduction, and providing essential nutrients.
  • The remarkable benefits of incorporating millets or Nutri cereals into the regular diet contribute to addressing health challenges such as obesity, diabetes, and lifestyle issues, owing to their low glycemic index, high dietary fiber, and antioxidants.
  • Nutri cereals boast high nutrient content, including protein, essential fatty acids, dietary fiber, B-Vitamins, and minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc, potassium, and magnesium.
  • They offer nutritional security, particularly for children and women, and are crucial for climate change measures in drylands, benefiting smallholder and marginal farmers.
  • Nutri cereals surpass major cereals in terms of slow digestible carbohydrates, non-allergenic proteins, dietary fiber, and micronutrients, containing 55–75% starch, 7–15% protein, 2–5% lipid, 2–4% minerals, and 7–15% dietary fiber.
  • The nutritional and health benefits of millets and pseudocereals are well-documented, recommended to minimize the intensity and management of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and obesity.
  • In the current sedentary lifestyle scenario, the regular consumption of millets and pseudocereals is highly recommended for the prevention of lifestyle-related diseases and to lead a healthy life.

February 2024