As many as 15 spouses of G20 leaders including Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s wife, Yoko Kishida, on Saturday visited the 1,200-acre PUSA-Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) campus here — the seat of India’s Green Revolution — and saw the breakthroughs in Indian agriculture and enjoyed the farm-to-fork millet experience. UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s wife Akshata Murty and World Bank President Ajay Banga’s wife Ritu Banga were among the delegation of first ladies and spouses of G20 leaders who visited the IARI campus here in the national capital.
They were received by Kyoko Jaishankar, the wife of India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar. They were welcomed by a grand “millets-rangoli” at the exhibition that showcased the curated millets from 18-odd countries, and the burgeoning startup ecosystem and Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) in India. “At the exhibition area, 15 #Agristartups showcased innovative tech solutions to address ground-level challenges. #FPOs from across the nation displayed edible products marketed nationwide, aligning with the theme ‘Empowering Rural Prosperity through Collective #Agriculture,” the agriculture ministry posted on social media platform X.
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The exhibition, which was organized by the ministry, showcased India’s agricultural excellence, featuring farmers, cutting-edge agri-technology and celebrity chefs, it said. During an hour-long visit, the delegates also met women tribal farmer Lahari Bai from Madhya Pradesh who has made a significant contribution in conservation of millets in her farm field. They also saw vertical farming, hydroponic farming and other sustainable agriculture methods. Lahari Bai is among 20 women farmers from remote villages who shared their experiences and wisdom about millet farming with the spouses of G20 leaders at IARI.
These women are at the forefront of a movement to revolutionise millet cultivation in their respective regions. Women farmers were invited from far-flung villages in 11 millet-producing states – Madhya Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, and Odisha. “The progress of Indian agriculture depicting advances made in agriculture through research in food and nutrition security was displayed through exhibitions. The delegates took keen interest in understanding all about Indian agriculture,” IARI Director A K Singh told PTI.
Besides millets, the advances made in dairy, fishery and floriculture were displayed in the exhibition, he added. The spouses of G20 leaders also visited the “live millets cooking counter” at IARI where celebrity chef Kunal Kapur prepared dishes and served some of the best Indian culinary delights. India has been spearheading the movement to highlight millets, adopting a resolution to declare 2023 as the International Year of Millets (IYM), which was supported by 72 members of the United Nations General Assembly.