New Delhi \u2013 In order to increase exports through quality production and processing, Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with ICAR-Indian Institute of Millet Research (ICAR-IIMR) which is expected to boost value addition and farmers\u2019 income.\n\n\n\nThe key focus of the MoU would be to promote commercial cultivation of processing enabled varieties developed by ICAR-IIMR for exports which is expected to promote value addition of millets, a cereal with high nutritive value.\n\n\n\nICAR-IIMR MoU also envisages creation of market linkages with farmers as well as Farmer Producers Organizations. A joint coordination committee with representatives from APEDA and ICAR-IIMR would be set up to achieve the goals envisaged under the MoU.\n\n\n\nThe objective of the ICAR-IIMR MoU is to build the export centric ecosystem with the requisite supply chain linkages, technological repository, clinical studies, awareness creation, policy changes and pipeline of entrepreneurs.\n\n\n\nBoth APEDA and ICAR-IIMR would work for developing knowledge on understanding of markets, consumer preferences, emerging segments, analyze export competitiveness, price volatility of markets and market intelligence on standards, regulations and trade policies.\n\n\n\nCreation of a Millet Export Promotion Forum in collaboration with all the key stakeholders for identifying export clusters to source sizable quantities of produce and for linking stakeholders with FPO\u2019s would be taken up jointly by the both the organizations of repute.\n\n\n\nICAR-IIMR MoU gives thrust on work relating to sensitization, promotion and policy advocacy to the Government departments for bringing new policy changes and convergences in favour of millet exports.\n\n\n\nBoth ICAR-IIMR and APEDA would jointly develop an export strategy and accordingly conduct training programme for the existing millet processors and entrepreneurs on various export policies and schemes for increasing exports of millets.\n\n\n\nDevelopment and Implementation of novel frameworks such as Traceability, Artificial intelligence, etc. would be taken for promoting millets exports. Handholding activities for the Start-ups for export-compliance is also envisaged under ICAR-IIMR MoU. Profiling of Millets growers or farmers in all major millets growing regions of the country and strengthening of seed supply chain would be taken up by ICAR-IIMR.\n\n\n\nMillets are cereal crops with high nutritive value and categorized as small-seeded grasses. The key varieties of millets include Sorghum, Pearl Millet, Ragi, Small Millet, Foxtail Millet, Barnyard Millet, Kodo Millet and others.\n\n\n\nRecently, the United Nations General Assembly has passed the resolution to celebrate the International Year of Millets (IYM) in 2023, to promote the health benefits of millets and their suitability under the changing climatic conditions globally. As IYM is round the corner, it is expected that the demand of millets will grow exponentially in many countries.\n\n\n\nICAR-IIMR has been working along the entire millet value chain. Through several projects, ICAR-IIMR has piloted several interventions to build the value chain for these forgotten crops, and thus to revive the millets for Nutritional security in the country.\n\n\n\nConsidering the potential of increasing exports of Millets and Millet products and the focus given by Government for development of millet sector, APEDA has been formulating a long term strategy with ICAR-IIMR and other stakeholders like National Institute Nutrition, CFTRI and FPOs for promotion of Millets and Millet products.\n\n\n\nTo boost exports prospects of various agricultural produce, APEDA has signed a series of MoUs with Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore, University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore, National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd (NAFED) among others.