Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
International Year of Millets 2023

The United Nations General Assembly at its 75th session in March 2021 declared 2023 the International Year of Millets (IYM 2023). FAO is the lead agency for celebrating the Year in collaboration with other relevant stakeholders. Millets can grow on arid lands with minimal inputs and are resilient to changes in climate. They are therefore an ideal solution for countries to increase self-sufficiency and reduce reliance on imported cereal grains. 

#IYM2023 will be an opportunity to raise awareness of, and direct policy attention to the nutritional and health benefits of millets and their suitability for cultivation under adverse and changing climatic conditions. The Year will also promote the sustainable production of millets, while highlighting their potential to provide new sustainable market opportunities for producers and consumers.

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 Watch the IYM promotional video and share it on social media to inspire action for #IYM2023!

 International Year of Millets:
Unleashing the potential of millets for the well-being of people and the environment

UN dedicates 2023 to greater efforts in producing millets given their nutritional properties and resilience in adapting to climate change.

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IYM Opening

Key Messages


SDG 13 - Climate ActionSDG 15 - Life on Land

  Millets are often referred to as climate-resilient crops because they can grow on arid lands with minimal inputs and maintenance, are tolerant or resistant to diseases and pests and are more resilient to climate shocks than other cereals.

  Including and/or expanding the production of millets in national agricultural systems can support the transformation to more efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable agrifood systems for better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life.


SDG 02 - Zero Hunger

  In arid areas, millets are very often the only crops that can be harvested in the dry season and are a crucial part of the household food basket. Millets can help to overcome food scarcity in difficult periods, therefore contributing to the food security and nutrition of vulnerable populations. 

  Millets can grow in very poor and fertile soils in dryland conditions and do not heavily deplete soil nutrients.  By providing land cover in arid areas, they reduce further soil degradation and help support biodiversity and sustainable land restoration. 


SDG 03 - Good Health and Well-Being

  Millets are good sources of minerals, dietary fibre, antioxidants and protein. With a low glycaemic index, they are a good option for people with high-blood sugar. Millets are also gluten-free and an excellent and cost-effective source of iron for iron-deficient diets.

  As whole grains, each variety of millets provide different amounts and types of fibre. Dietary fibre has a role in regulating bowel function, blood sugar and lipids, and satiation.


SDG 08 - Decent Work and Economic Growth

  The production of millets and the demand for them has declined as other cereals such as wheat, maize or rice became a dietary preference. By promoting millets and regaining market opportunities, additional sources of revenue can be created for smallholders and in the food sector, boosting economic growth.

  Millets were among the first plants to be domesticated and for centuries, they have been an important food for hundreds of millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. They are deeply rooted in Indigenous Peoples’ culture and traditions and therefore a strategic crop to guarantee food security in areas where they are culturally relevant.


SDG 02 - Zero HungerSDG 03 - Good Health and Well-Being

  Timely harvesting ensures good grain quality followed by threshing to remove grains from the stalks. Controlled mechanised processes for the dehusking of millets, at any scale, are more efficient than manual dehusking, as they reduce losses from spillage and provide clean intact grains that are ready for market. Smallholders and supply chain holders benefit accordingly from better incomes and reduced drudgery.

  Innovative agro-processing, especially in the production of nutritious foods, could target both traditional and non-traditional markets such as youth, urban consumers, tourists etc.  This value addition could lead to market expansion, and increased food and nutrition security and incomes for smallholder farmers.


 SDG 08 - Decent Work and Economic GrowthSDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production

  Millets, including sorghum, account for less than 3% of the global grains trade. With the need to improve the resilience of  global trade  and its ability to respond to sudden changes in the foodgrain market, millets are a valuable option to increase output diversity and mitigate risks related to production shocks.

  Market structure and transparency, in relation to volumes and prices of millets, are key elements to ensure stability and sustainability. It is important to ensure that millet traders benefit from the same tools as other grain traders, such as digitalization, which could boost the added value of millet along the grains value chain and consequently provide more revenue opportunities for producers.


Get involved

Whether you’re a government, city, private business, NGO, journalist, civil society organization or individual, you can take part in the International Year of Millets 2023. We can provide you with multimedia content in several languages to support your activity and share.

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Inform and engage your followers. Share free material on digital channels and raise awareness about the #IYM2023 #YearOfMillets.

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The International Year of Millets 2023 contributes to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)


SDG 02 - Zero Hunger      SDG 03 - Good Health and Well-Being      SDG 08 - Decent Work and Economic Growth      SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production      SDG 13 - Climate Action      SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals



Behind every Year there’s a solid team!

The International Year of Millets 2023 is governed by a Steering Committee and a Secretariat, working closely together to deliver all the IYM events and initiatives. Contact us if you need more information!