Ganderbal, Mar 31: The Department of Botany, School of Life Sciences, Central University of Kashmir (CUK) Friday organised a “Millet Awareness Campaign Through Banners” in different campuses of the varsity, to celebrate the international year of Millets, under the G20 University Connect.
Vice Chancellor, Prof. Farooq Ahmad Shah, Registrar, Prof. M Afzal Zargar, Finance Officer and DSW, Dr. Mehraj ud Din Shah, Dean School of Life Sciences, Prof. Muhammad Yousuf, nodal person Botany Deptt, Prof. Azra Kamili, Head Deptt of Biotechnology, Dr. Abid Hamid Dar, faculty members, and students were also present on the occasion.
Holding placards and banners, the faculty and students marched through the roads of Duderhama to spread awareness about the use and efficacy of millet. They also fixed banners at Tulmulla, Arts Campus, and Nuner campuses of the university and distributed pamphlets providing details about the importance of millets in day-to-day lives.
Speaking on the occasion, Vice Chancellor, Prof Farooq Shah said that to create domestic and global demand and to provide nutritional food to the people, the Government of India proposed to the United Nations for declaring 2023 as the International Year of Millets. “The proposal of India was supported by other countries and the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) declared 2023 as the International Year of Millets on 5th March 2021,” he said. He asked the students to educate the masses about the utility of millet in the context of a healthy lifestyle.
In his speech, Registrar, Prof. M Afzal said that recognizing the potential of millets, which are nutritionally superior to wheat and rice owing to their higher protein levels and a more balanced amino acid profile, the Government of India (GoI) has prioritized millets, under UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). He said millets were the staples in India, but gradually were downgraded as the emphasis shifted to increased food grain production and productivity using high-yielding varieties of wheat and rice. Prof. Zargar said millet can provide nutritional security and act as a shield against nutritional deficiency, especially among children and women.
Nodal Person Botany Department, Prof. Azra Kamili, said, millets were the first crop to be domesticated in India with several pieces of evidence during Indus valley civilizations, adding that once it was a staple food in traditional Indian cooking and now is making a slow comeback in the kitchens of the country. She said the basic objective of the campaign is to increase public awareness on health benefits of millets.
In his address, Finance Officer and DSW, Dr. Mehraj ud Din Shah, said, millet contains various nutrients which have therapeutic properties. “After Covid -19, consumers are choosing millets for improving their nutrition and strengthening their immunity,” he added.
Dean School of Life Sciences, Prof. Muhammad Yousuf said that India produces all the nine commonly known millets and is the largest producer and fifth-largest exporter of millets in the world.
Head Deptt of Biotechnology, Dr. Abid Hamid Dar, said with growing concerns of lifestyle diseases coupled with ‘refined’ diet culture, modern consumers are slowly, but increasingly looking at the nutrient-rich millets as a suitable alternative to wheat and rice.
Asst Prof. Dr. Sajad Ahmad Lone conducted the programme proceedings and also proposed the vote of thanks.