Celebration of International Year of Millets 2023 week in Kuwait
With the objective of spreading awareness about the ecological, nutrition and economical benefits of millets, the International Year of Millets (IYM 2023) was announced by the United Nations General Assembly on a proposal of Government of India.
MIillets are ancient cereal crops and small seed grasses widely used across Asia and Africa. These grains are nutritiously rich, drought tolerant and mostly grown in the arid and semi-arid regions of India. Millets are nutritionally superior to wheat and rice as they are rich in protein, vitamins and minerals. While millets are not major food crops in the developed world, they play a vital role in the foods of peoples of many indigenous societies in Asia and Africa.
Under the leadership and vision of Shri Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, the Government of India celebrated 2018 as National Year of Millets. With the determination to turn adoption of millets as a peoples movement, the Government of India is spearheading the celebration of IYOM 2023. As a steering committee member of the FAO, India is leading the initiative globally.
The Embassy of India, Kuwait organized the Millets Week in Kuwait (IYOM 2023) from 15 - 21 February 2023.
At the conclusion of the Millets Week in Kuwait, the Embassy organized a Finalé event titled “Millets for Sustainable Development” on 21 February 2023 at the Embassy auditorium. H. E. Mr Maazen Essa Al-Essa, Undersecretary Amiri Diwan was the Chief Guest at the event, which was attended by a large number of resident Ambassadors, their spouses, businessmen, students and Indian community members. In his address, Ambassador Designate extended his warm felicitations to the people and Government of State of Kuwait on the occasion of the National and Liberation Day of Kuwait. Referring to the significance of millets on achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and India’s emphasis on popularizing millets for their benefits. ‘Millets are good for our planet, our people and our plate’, he added.
A Millets Exhibition, displaying the diversity of millets grown in different parts of India. The Art with Millets Exhibition included more than 70 artworks prepared by students of Indian schools on the themes of Millets for Sustainable Development, Millets for Taste and Nutrition and India-Kuwait Friendship. A Live Demonstration on regional diversity of Millets Cuisine by renowned Indian Chef Chhaya Thakkar was held. A display of various Millets from Indian States and their benefits, by Lulu Hypermarkets, Kuwait and Al-Hakimi Supermarket, Kuwait was also arranged during this event. A cultural program, involving a skit on millets culture in India performed by Indian Doctors Forum (IDF) members as well as harvest dances by Indian community members and students was also part of the program.
During the event, Chief Guest and Ambassador gave away prizes to the winners of various competitions held during the Millets Week in Kuwait.
The week included several activities, such as Art With Millets poster competition, an online quiz and an awareness campaign titled “Millets in My Tiffin”, aimed at generating awareness of Indian millets and the rich diversity of millets cuisine of India as well as the nutrition and health benefits of millets. As part of the promotion of the millets campaign, First Secretary (Political & Commerce) Mrs. Smita Patil participated in the Good Morning Kuwait Live Show on KTV2 for spreading awareness about Millets in Kuwait, while Chef Chhaya Thakkar spoke about Millets cuisine during a program of Radio Kuwait International. A large number of Indian students participated in the educational drive conducted by the Embassy under the hashtags #MilletsWeekInKuwait and #MilletsInMyTiffin campaigns.
Remarks of Ambassador Dr Adarsh Swaika
Millets for Sustainable Development – Finale of Millets Week In Kuwait
[21 February 2023, 1630 hrs]
H E Mr Mazin Essa Al-Essa, Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs, office of His Highness the Crown Prince and Chief Guest of today’s program
Ambassadors and High Commissioners
Heads of UN agencies in Kuwait
Principals of schools
Members of Indian Indian Community
Dear students and their parents
Friends from media
Ladies and gentlemen;
Good afternoon, Namaskar !
I am delighted to welcome you all today to the Embassy of India premises to celebrate the finale of the week-long ‘Millet Campaign’ organized by the Embassy since 15 February.
Let me begin by extending my felicitations and greetings to the leadership and people of the State of Kuwait in this special month of celebrations of the National Day and Liberation Day of State of Kuwait.
You have just seen a short video on millets and its benefits. ‘Small but mighty and full of promises for humanity’s future’ would be an apt way to describe millets- a group of small grains, cultivated as ancient crops in different parts of Asia and Africa. Having realized the importance of millets in ensuring food and nutrition security to the people of India, the Government of India celebrated the year 2018 as the National Year of Millets. To further spread awareness about the potential of millets, also known as nutricereals, India proposed and more than 70 countries supported the proposal of celebrating the year 2023 as International Year of Millets at the 75th UNGA session in March 2021. Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi has emphasized the need for a ‘people’s movement’ to spread awareness about the crucial role millets can play. Very recently, he called millets ‘Shree Anna’ meaning ‘sacred foods’ referring to the cultural importance of some of the millets and to the potential they have to offer to the humanity. Indeed, the IYOM2023 mission statement reads as
‘Rich in heritage, full of potential’ or 'iirth ghaniun litaqat kamila’.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As you may be aware, the Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs have been agreed to by the international community in pursuit of a better world for all. Millets could be inextricably linked to the achievements of SDGs. As someone who was part of the long negotiations on the SDGs and climate change negotiations at the UN, I am happy to see how IYOM is giving us all a practical, actionable way of progressing on some of the SDGs and at the same time, share the message of sustainable development, nutrition and climate resilience with the wider public.
Millets are good for our planet, good for our people as well as for our palate. For producers, millets offer a hardy, climate resilient alternative to traditional resource intensive cropping patterns. For consumers, they provide variety and nutrition with taste. Millets are rich in fibres, minerals and have low glycemic index. They are gluten free and are adaptable to all sorts of cuisines. So for the ecology, as well as for the society and economy, millets have a lot to offer.
The Government of India launched the promotion of IYoM in January. And so did all the Embassies of India across the globe, including the Embassy in Kuwait. It has become a government led movement in India and abroad. This week we celebrated the Millets Week in Kuwait with a range of activities involving different stakeholders. You will see further during the program today how young children and adults enthusiastically participated in the Quiz on Millets, made creative artworks using millets and made and relished millets dishes in their tiffins. In all of this, there was a learning opportunity for our young generation and I am amazed at their sensitivity, creativity and the zeal for creative solutions for the collective problems of the world today. They will live in a world different from ours, but I am glad they are also bringing a thinking which is different from ours. It is responsible thinking, empathetic and action-oriented. I congratulate all the winners and more importantly all those who participated in the competitions and activities held during the Millets Week In Kuwait.
Millets could also be an important element of India-Kuwait bilateral trade in foodgrains. As a leading producer of different types of millets, India is a source for these nutricereals. While lot of fresh produce, fruits and vegetables, cereals and rice are imported from India to Kuwait, you can also see millets in some of the supermarkets and departmental stores in Kuwait. With greater awareness about the benefits and delicious recipes that could also be prepared from millets, I am sure the demand for millets would also grow and so will be its visibility in the shelves of all supermarkets. This is why we have invited these two important stake-holders in today’s event – representatives of super-markets in Kuwait as well as Indian restaurants.
We will be organizing a host of activities in June to take forward our campaign of millets. We would welcome suggestions and ideas in this regard.
Any Indian event cannot be complete without sprinkles of Indian culture and cuisine. And we have all these for you today as well in some measure.
We will have senior Indian doctors in Kuwait putting up a skit that weaves the theme of millet and its advantages with Indian folk dance and music. Indian Chef Chaya Thakkar, who regularly shares her recipes in the weekly Times Kuwait, has prepared a range of millet dishes, which I am sure will give your taste-buds a combination of nutrition and taste.
I once again thank you all for joining us today despite the pulls and pressure of forthcoming holiday season.