Shree Anna- The Game changer for Farmers

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Rajkumar Chahar

The first grains grown when mankind came into existence were probably millets or ‘Shree Anna’. In her 2023-24 Budget speech Union Finance Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman also referred to millets or coarse grains as ‘Shree Anna’. With PM Shri Narendra Modi’s initiatives, year 2023 has been designated as the International Year of Millets by the United Nations (UN). Under the leadership of India, the whole world is now celebrating the ‘Year 2023’ as ‘Millet Year’. This has been formally launched in India by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi at an international conference in New Delhi on March 18. Recently, India also organised the Global Millets/’Shree Anna’ Conference in New Delhi and even it is leading from the front in spreading the word about ‘Shree Anna’ throughout the globe.

Similarly, efforts are being made to revive the production of the forgotten Millets through the International Year of Millets (IYM)- 2023. The Central Government under the dynamic leadership of PM Shri Narendra Modi has been constantly making efforts to popularize ‘Shree Anna.’ Whether, it is lunch organized for MPs or G20 meeting in Delhi, ‘Shree Anna’ dishes are being served prominently in all these events now. Whether it is a food festival or a conclave, efforts are being made to attract foreigners and promote exports of products that are made from ‘Shree Anna’.

During the ‘Millet Year’, as per the guidance of Hon’ble PM Shri Narendra Modi, the BJP National Kisan Morcha has been organizing seminars and programs at various

India is the largest producer and second largest exporter of ‘Shree Anna’. Most of the millets like Ragi, Caneri, Jowar and Kuttu are exported from our country to USA, UAE, UK, Nepal, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Libya, Tunisia, Oman and Egypt

places across the country to propagate, promote and increase the consumption of millets, as well as to make every small farmer of the country aware about the ‘Shree Anna’.

Noteworthy, at present, India is the largest producer and second largest exporter of ‘Shree Anna’. Most of the millets like Ragi, Caneri, Jowar and Kuttu are exported from our country to USA, UAE, UK, Nepal, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Libya, Tunisia, Oman and Egypt.

But, what characteristics make millets the ‘Super food’ or ‘Shree Anna’ and why is it beneficial for everyone is the moot question?

What is ‘Shree Anna’ or Millets?

Several historical evidences regarding the consumption of ‘Shree Anna’ during the Indus Valley Civilization suggest that it was one of the earliest crops cultivated in India.

Millets are important crops in the semiarid tropics of Asia and Africa (especially in South India, Mali, Nigeria, and Niger), with 97% of millet production in developing countries. This crop is favored due to its productivity and short growing season under dry, high-temperature conditions. It is also called the grain of the poor. Millets are also very good for health. Millets not only provide enough protein and fiber, but also cure diseases arising due to excess carbohydrate in the body.

Why ‘Shree Anna’ is called super food

Essentially there are more nutrients in ‘Shree Anna’ in comparison with others food. These grains are gluten free, bad cholesterol free and full of other essential vitamins like beta-carotene, niacin, vitamin-B6, folic acid, potassium, magnesium, zinc etc. which if we consume can live a healthy and disease free life. Along with this, these grains are rich in Fiber, which improves digestion. In this way, the person who eats it does not have the problem of constipation. Consuming these strengthens the bones. ‘Shree Anna’ is also considered best for diabetes and heart patients. For all these reasons, ‘Shree Anna’ is also called super food.

Types of ‘Shree Anna’ and its health benefits

Jowar: It is gluten free and a good source of protein. It is a great food for Diabetic patients.

Bajra: Vitamin B6, folic acid is present in it. It removes Anemia.

Ragi: It is a source of natural calcium. Helps in strengthening bones of growing children and elders.

Sawa or Sama: Rich in fiber and iron. Removes Acidity, Constipation and Anemia.

Kangni: It helps in Detoxification. Controls BP and bad Cholesterol.

Kodo: It is also rich in fiber. Beneficial in diseases related to Goitre, Rosacea and Piles.

Kutki: It is a good source of antioxidants. The magnesium present in it controls Healthy Heart and Cholesterol.

Kuttu: It is beneficial for Asthma patients. The amino acid present in it prevents Hair Loss.

Easy to Cultivate

Under the visionary leadership of PM Shri Narendra Modi India has taken several steps to popularize ‘Shree Anna’. The PM also wants India to become the global hub of ‘Shree Anna’ and International Millet Year 2023 to be transformed into a ‘people’s movement’. Of course, India is playing an important role in explaining the benefits of Millets to the world. About 80 percent of Asia’s and 20 percent of the world’s Millets are produced in our country. Cultivation of these grains is done with less cost and lesser water. Additionally, there are fewer crop-related diseases, due to which the use of pesticides is also negligible. Since it can be easily grown on un-irrigated land, its production can be increased manifold in India if the demand increases.

Increase in farmer’s income

Millets or ‘Shree Anna’ are our traditional food, which can be grown with less labor, less water, dry land and very low cost with good yield. This is such a grain that can be produced without fertilizers. When the demand for ‘Shree Anna’ will increase, then its price will increase in the market, only then the income of poor farmers with uncultivated land will also increase.

Millet crop is rain fed, so, poor farmers can produce it in barren land. If the use of millet increases in the world, processing will increase, exports will increase, which will benefit small farmers and they will be successful in improving their financial condition. This millet year is very important from this point of view for our farmers.

Promotion of millets consumption

Under the direction of the Prime Minister, a plan has been prepared for the promotion of millet through G-20 meetings. In all the programs of G-20, priority is being given to millet in food, so that when these people return to their country, they take good taste of food from here and India’s ‘Shree Anna’ gets new recognition in the world. Our farmers and the country will get the benefit of this.

To increase research on this in the country, three National Centers of Excellence have been set up in Haryana, Hyderabad and Bengaluru, through which a lot of work is being done. There is about 2000 startups working in the agriculture sector, most of which are related to millets. Agricultural products worth more than Rs. 4 lakh crore were exported from our country, most of which are organic and millet.

‘Shree Anna’ (Millet) is the need of the day as it is rich in nutrients. These nutritious grains are very important from the point of view of food security. India is a major producer of millets, yet millets are missing from our plate in terms of daily diet. In the present environment, whether at home or outside, food is available to us, but it lacks nutrients as per requirement. We required nutrients in sufficient quantity in our food plate, for this it is necessary to have ‘Shri Anna’ in the plate.

(The writer is the National President of BJP Kisan Morcha)