Millets for Military Ration: A two-day National Conference on ‘Millets for Military Ration and Specific Nutritional Requirements’ was inaugurated by Raksha Rajya Mantri Shri Ajay Bhatt in Mysuru, Karnataka on September 29, 2023. The conference has been organised by Defence Food Research Laboratory (DFRL), the Mysuru-based laboratory of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
The conference will deliberate on the scientific facts for the adoption of millets-based food for the Services, exploring millets for sustainable agro-processing practices at terrains of troop deployment; identifying and resolving the challenges in millet processing; preservation and storage for sustained nutritional & food security.
The conference will also identify innovative ways to integrate millets into the diet of the Services for improved health & endurance and facilitate discussion on millets-based enterprises among research organisations, government agencies, policy makers & supply chain managers.
In his address, the Raksha Rajya Mantri stressed the importance of millets for health and stated that the DFRL is not only spreading awareness among the public, it is also working towards ensuring the supply of millets to the Armed Forces personnel to meet their nutritional requirements.
Secretary, Department of Defence R&D and Chairman DRDO Dr Samir V Kamat appreciated the fact that the Services are looking to adopt millets in their ration and hoped that the conference will deliberate upon the nutritional aspects and implementation of millets and its products in Armed Forces rations.
Padma Shri Prof Khadar Valli Dudekula, known as the Millet Man of India, was present during the inaugural ceremony. He highlighted the importance of millets for the well-being of humanity and a disease-free life.
DG (Life Sciences), DRDO spoke about the importance of the conference in line with the International Year of Millets and stated that awareness about millets life will further increase with this conference. ADG ST(SM), Army HQ complimented the DFRL for organising the conference and spoke about the requirement of the use of millets in Army ration.
Major technical themes of the conference include Nutrition & Health benefits of millets; Millets in military ration issues, challenges, opportunities; Recent advances in millet processing & value-added products; Networking of supply chain management among stakeholders; and Policy interventions in the promotion of millets.
On the occasion, the Raksha Rajya Mantri also inaugurated the exhibition organised by DFRL, wherein 17 industries are participating. He also launched the first biodegradable water bottle in the country developed by DFRL. Various Licensing Agreements for Transfer of Technology were handed over to the industry by the DRDO Chairman in the presence of Shri Ajay Bhatt. The conference is being attended by the personnel of the Armed Forces, Paramilitary, DRDO scientists, academia and industry partners.