UN’s SDG or sustainable developmental goals are a clarion call for action initiative from member nations to promote prosperity, support good health and well-being of human beings and saving the environment.
The United Nations adopted an agenda in 2015 as 2030 sustainable development goals with the help of 293 countries. In this agenda, 17 goals have been envisioned from different important aspects of life to improve life quality, human development and create a holistic and sustainable living environment.
To achieve these goals, the United Nations Assembly is taking various initiatives. Last year, the United Nations declared “2023 as an international year of millets” to deal with food insecurity and raise awareness about millet’s health benefits among people.
Experts suggest including millet in our diet can help a lot in solving global food problems. Millets offer exceptional health benefits and are great for the environment too. Moreover, millet can be a great aid in achieving SDG goals and reducing food insecurities.
What are the main causes of food insecurities worldwide?
The global hunger crisis is real; it affects many countries (especially developing and poor countries) across the world. The rapidly growing world population, economic instability, climatic crisis (drought, flood etc.), and poverty are some of the main causes that increase the prevalence of food insecurities. As per recent data, 349 million people across 79 countries are suffering from food insecurities and this number is expected to keep growing in upcoming years too.
Is including millet in the diet a solution to global food problems?
Yes, including millet in diet can be an effective solution to global food problems. Millets are highly nutritious. They are high in fiber and contain various essential nutrients like iron, zinc calcium, protein and amino acids.
In developing countries like India, a large number of women and children population are suffering from Iron and calcium deficiency. Adding millet to their diet can be the best solution to fulfil nutritional requirements and reduce nutritional deficiency.
Furthermore, millets have many climate resilience properties. They can grow with less water and in less fertile soil. They are great for the environment and farmers.
Role of millets in achieving SDG goals
Millets help in fighting malnutrition and can help in achieving SDG goal 2 “Zero Hunger”
“Zero hunger” is one of the main important SDG goals that focus on providing enough nutritious food to people all around the world up to the year 2030. In many developing and lower socio-economic countries, people are facing a food crisis.
In this scenario, increasing millet production and raising awareness about millet benefits can help a lot in providing healthy and nutritious food to people. Millet encourages crop diversity and creates a solid foundation for achieving SDG goal 2 “Zero hunger”.
Millets are great food option for various lifestyle diseases and support SDG goal 3 “Good health and well-being”
As next benefit, millets are high in fiber and have a low glycemic index (GI index). Because of these properties, they are the best cereal option for diabetes. They keep us full for longer and help in the weight loss journey too. Research shows Millet rich diet helps in lowering bad cholesterol level.
In this scenario, adding millets to your diet can be a great option to not only increase the nutrition quotient of food, but it helps a lot in the management and prevention of chronic lifestyle disease.
Millets require less or no fertilizers to grow and help in achieving SDG goal 12 “ensure sustainable consumption and production pattern”
Wheat, corn and rice are some of the popular crops in many countries. All these crops require pesticides and fertilizers to grow and survive. These popular crops do not support the sustainable production and consumption pattern. While millets are unique in this way. Millets crops offer natural resistance to insects and require less or no fertilizers to grow and survive.
Millets have amazing climate resilience properties, and they support SDG goal 13 “climate action”
“Climate action” is one of the important SDG goals which focuses on taking prompt action to reduce the impact of various climate changes like global warming etc.
Millets also support this goal amazingly. They have much less harvesting time than other popular crops (rice, wheat and corn). They can grow and survive in adverse weather conditions like high heat and offer a natural resistance to drought.
In conclusion, millets are superfood, they not only help in achieving SDG goals, but they promote sustainable agriculture as well.