India and Namibia celebrate international millet year to foster collaboration

The Indian High Commission in Namibia and the Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation on Tuesday jointly commemorated the International Year of Millets aimed at fostering cooperation in millet production for food security.

The celebration follows the declaration by the 75th United Nations General Assembly in March 2021, that 2023 be the International Year of Millets to raise awareness of and direct policy attention to the nutritional and health benefits of millets and their suitability for cultivation under adverse and changing climate conditions.

Speaking at the event here, Indian High Commissioner Mandarapu Subbarayudu said cooperation in millet production can become a new focus area between India and Namibia by increasing the production and consumption of millet worldwide.

He explained millets are the oldest world domesticated crop and have the potential to address nutritional and food security of the global south, however, there is a need to increase awareness to inspire stakeholders about
improving the production, quality and enhance research and development.

‘In India, more than 500 recipes have been developed from millets…Namibia can become a hub for millet production in the region through joint collaboration,’ he said.

MIRCO Executive Director Penda Naanda on his part said millet popularly known as Mahangu is a staple food to over 50 per cent of the Namibian population and, therefore has the potential to address food security locally and internationally.

‘Despite health benefits, millets have been neglected in favour of more profitable crops such as rice and wheat which has led to the decline in millets, in this regard the ministry is eager to welcome innovative ideas around millets to foster collaborations,’ he noted.

Silver Spoon Academy Chef Terry Jenkinson said millet (Mahangu) has been neglected for many years to the detriment of people’s health as it is high in nutritional benefits. He added that various products such as pasta, noodles, salads and chocolate amongst others can be
made from millet.

‘It is important to us that we teach our youngsters about the recipes that millet can offer because it is a fantastic diverse product and Namibia can learn a lot from India as far as the utilisation of millet,’ he noted.

Source: The Namibian Press Agency