During its 75th session, the United Nations General Assembly declared 2023 as the International Year of Millets (IYM2023), with India spearheading the initiative as the largest producer of these nutri-cereals. As we celebrate IYM, FOLU aims to highlight the need to diversify our food basket, understand the impact of millets on local communities, and strengthen climate-resilient measures. We examine these various facets through the lens of gender ramifications – for the women working with millets – and the gaps that need to be bridged to ensure gender equity, especially for the marginalized communities.
The short film, ‘Invisible: Women and the Future of Millets,’ directed by Arjun Swaminathan, intricately captures the profound relationship between women farmers and millets across generations. The film follows the fascinating journey of millets, once considered a lost cause, transforming into a recognized superfood. It highlights the crucial role of women farmers, particularly from marginalized communities, in this evolution.
Emphasizing ongoing initiatives for gender inclusivity, modernization of processing methods, and the newfound awareness of millets’ nutritional benefits, the film illustrates how the lives of these women are undergoing positive changes, and how social media has helped amplify these efforts.
Through meaningful interactions with on-ground workers, sectoral experts, and government officials, this film attempts to gauge the areas where intervention is required to make this transition even more meaningful and beneficial to all the stakeholders involved. By exploring these dimensions, the film provides a nuanced understanding of challenges and opportunities in the millet farming sector, paving the way forward.
The podcast delves into the millets ecosystem in India as it gains popularity among urban consumers, and how this has rejuvenated income opportunities for the growing communities, many of which comprise marginal communities, especially women. Radio professional and sustainability enthusiast Shruti also reflects on the changing food culture of the country in this 33-minute capsule.
Unravel the nuanced history of millets in India, from Green Revolution narratives to their recent resurgence. Explore the untold stories of women, their struggles, resilience, and innovative farming practices. While millets gain urban popularity, cautionary tales remind us of the intersectionality of caste and gender issues. This article calls for an inclusive and adaptive approach to support millet-cultivating communities, ensuring empowerment and sustainable benefits in the midst of this renewed spotlight.