Indian millet exports show remarkable growth of 12.5 % in IYoM 2023

During the International Year of Millets in 2023, the exports of millet and millet-based products experienced a significant boost

India’s Millet Mission has been instrumental in supporting numerous millet-based Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) throughout the country. The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) has reported an increase in millet exports from $62.95 million in 2021-22 to $75.45 million in 2022-23 and with a current export of $45.46 million from April – November 2023. Millet exports have seen a remarkable 12.5 per cent increase from April to December 2023 compared to the same period in the previous year, indicating a significant shift in millet exports over the past decade.

This support has led to a surge in awareness and consumption of millet and millet-based products. Crops such as Jowar, Bajra, and Ragi have emerged as profitable cash crops in India. Notably, during the International Year of Millets in 2023, the exports of millet and millet-based products experienced a significant boost. A prime example is the Samruddhi Agro Group (SAG) FPO based in Pune, Maharashtra. SAG has successfully established its brand of millet products, known as ‘Good to Eat’, offering a diverse range of 27 products. However, to align with market trends and meet consumer demands, SAG has streamlined its focus on 10-15 core products, including Jowar Chiwada, Jowar Rava, Ragi Rava, Ragi Idly Mix, Ragi Dosa Mix, Jowar Idly Mix, Millet Multigrain Daliya, Jowar Flakes, Bajra flakes, and Millet Granola.

SAG’s reach extends across 22 states in the USA, Netherlands, Belgium, Dubai, Singapore, and Canada. The FPO boasts a network of 15 professional distributors spanning Maharashtra and other states. Additionally, SAG offers white-label manufacturing services for 12 brands. Leveraging word-of-mouth promotion and strategic partnerships, SAG has secured its presence on prominent online platforms such as Amazon, Wellness store, Flipkart, Paytm, Jio, and its gud2eat online store.

The escalating demand for large-scale millet cultivation as a staple crop, coupled with increasing consumer consciousness regarding fitness and health, is propelling the global millet-based product market. According to a research report by Spherical Insights & Consulting, the Global Millet-Based Product Market Size is poised to escalate from $36.6 million in 2022 to $85.7 million by 2032, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 8.87 per cent during the forecast period.

Founded by Sarojini Phadtare and Tatyasaheb Phadtare, SAG has been steadfast in its commitment to promoting organic millet products. The FPO offers a spectrum of multigrain breakfast options, organic and healthy flakes, fibre-rich foods, and various types of flour to multigrain mixes. Through strategic utilization of government schemes and innovative product offerings, SAG has garnered international recognition and a vast customer base for its millet products.

SAG follows a unique approach to procurement by directly purchasing grains from farmers at rates exceeding market prices by 10 to 15 per cent. This not only eliminates transportation costs but also assures farmers of guaranteed prices. Furthermore, SAG has initiated group farming ventures involving ten individuals in Pune, Ahmednagar, and Solapur regions, which have now expanded to encompass 303 farmers. In 2015, farmers received a 50 per cent discount on hail grading, attracting more farmers to avail of such benefits. Despite a setback due to the 2015-16 drought, the number of farmers engaged in supplying grains increased from 40 to 45 in 2016. Presently, the group comprises 303 to 350 farmers, with plans to increase grain processing targets from 50 tonnes last year.

In another significant development, Sri Rapthadu Mandala Raithu Utpatti Darula MACS Limited, a farmer-producer company in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh, supported by Samunnati and eFresh, achieved IndG.A.P certification for foxtail millet. This milestone underscores the critical role of farmer-producer companies in India, especially during the International Year of Millets (IYoM 2023), under the ambitious ‘Make in India’ initiative by the Government, aimed at facilitating global market access for Indian millets.

Anil Kumar SG, Founder & CEO of Samunnati, emphasised the significance of adopting Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) verified by robust certification, which not only enhances value realisation for farmers but also boosts India’s global competitiveness in agricultural exports. He highlighted Samunnati’s collaboration with eFresh, an expert body on global food safety standards, in promoting IndG.A.P standards. Kumar expressed optimism about India’s potential to become the ‘Millet bowl of the world’, thereby facilitating exports and augmenting farmers’ income.

Mandhani, while elaborating on their initiatives, highlighted two revenue models to assist FPOs: Drone as a Service commission on each acre and Bulk Input Procurement and Sale. In the latter model, Samunnati guarantees a premium on produce to farmers through its Point of Purchase (PoP) mechanism and procures the entire produce from the FPO. Additionally, plans are underway to introduce the processing of export-grade millets at the FPO level, thereby enabling farmers to access quality resources at competitive prices.

Overall, these initiatives underscore the concerted efforts to promote millet cultivation, enhance farmer income, and position India as a frontrunner in the global millet market.

Shraddha Warde

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