FM Nirmala Sitharaman urges startups to cash in on global demand for millets

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday urged startups to look at innovative ways to boost the export of value-added millets from India as consumers the world over see millets as gold for reasons of health and well-being.

The world will observe 2023 as the international year of millets, and India is the largest producer of millets, Sitharaman said, addressing the 105th annual general meeting (AGM) of the Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FKCCI).

India is the third largest exporter of millets, the Finance Minister said, but the key here was processing of raw millets and adding value. There was a large market overseas for ready-to-use millets, she said.

Sitharaman said it was not just software, pharma or medical devices, but millet processing too presented a big opportunity for the startups to work on, she said, and urged startups to look at innovative ways of adding value, and look at areas including packaging as well as price and market discovery.

The exports of value-added millets, Sitharaman said, will not only help farmers get a better price for their produce, but will also help India export to some more countries. She urged all stakeholders including chartered accountants and chambers of commerce to work towards this to accelerate India’s pace of growth towards becoming a fully developed economy.

India will host the G20 meet next year. The G20 meetings will be held outside of Delhi as well including in Karnataka. “I hope, wish and will certainly do my bit for Karnataka to do its branding and to identify those products which can be showcased in G20 meetings,” she said, highlighting that Karnataka was a lead producer of millets in India.

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