Staff Reporter –
ITC Limited, one of India’s leading multi-business enterprises, in collaboration with Department of Post, Ministry of Communication, released a special postal stamp, in New Delhi. As part of ITC’s Mission Millets initiative commemorating International Year of Millets, the exclusive postal stamp celebrates the Shree Anna and the nationwide efforts to raise awareness on millets. The exclusive stamp was released today by Shri Kailash Choudhary, Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare of India, in the presence of Sushri Manju Kumar, Chief Post Master General, Department of Post, Ministry of Communication and Shri S. Sivakumar, Group Head – Agri Business ITC Limited in New Delhi. ITC remains committed to Help India Eat Better and raise awareness on millets, a movement spearheaded by the Hon’ble Prime Minister.
Stamps have globally been a symbol of honour which immortalize people, moments or movements of great cultural value. The ITC Mission Millets Stamp released by the Department of Post, Ministry of Communication, celebrates Shree Anna and marks a milestone in ITC’s journey to educate, empower and encourage millet farming and consumption in India.
The exclusive ITC Mission Millets postal stamp acknowledges the significant role of farmers and connects sustainable farming to nutritious food products and delicious millet-based recipes and dishes. The representation is a unique sketch illustration that depicts the collective and synergistic effort by ITC’s Agri Business Division, Foods Business Division and ITC Hotels to not only develop sustainable millet farming but also help consumers acquire a taste for healthy millets. ITC has developed a range of millet-based products in traditional and modern formats for all meal occasions including ready to eat food products, cookies, noodles, vermicelli, chocosticks, snacks and staples such as Multi Millet Mix and Ragi Flour. ITC Hotels has also crafted and included special millet based cuisines in their buffets. The stamp captures the journey of millets from the farms to ITC’s food production factories, and ultimately their incorporation into nutritious dishes prepared by chefs from ITC Hotels. The earthy colours combined with the sketch illustration celebrates Shree Anna and its myriad benefits.
The event also witnessed the launch of ITC’s initiative to encourage consumers to become millet advocates through its limited-edition digital collectible stamps. Stamps today are a part of heritage memorabilia with immense collectible value. Through this Digital stamp, ITC is providing an opportunity to consumers to spread awareness on millets through their active participation. Its climate resilient attributes as well its nutrient-dense properties can help address micronutrient deficiency in developing countries. The digital collectible stamp also enables consumers to actively pledge their support to adopt millets in their everyday meals and snacks. This innovative initiative is a step forward to achieve ITC’s objective to educate on millets, empower farmers and encourage millet consumption. Consumers can visit the website www.betterwithmillets.com, to become a millet advocate and be an active proponent of millets.
Earlier this year, ITC launched its Mission Millets initiative to bring millets to the mainstream.ITC, which has health and sustainability built into its mission, has actively educated and empowered farmers to enhance millet farming along with the food and hospitality sector enabling consumers to adopt millets as part of everyday diet. ITC is also promoting FPOs in millet farming anchored by ITCMAARS, an integrated ‘phygital’ eco-system that synergises digital advancements with our century-old farmer engagement. Our Agri Business has implemented two PPP projects in Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, in partnership with Indian Institute of Millets Research (IIMR), Hyderabad.
During the launch event of Postal Stamp on July 25, 2023, Shri Kailash Choudhry, Union Minister of State highlighted the actions taken by Government of India in Shree Anna promotion, being the largest producer and second largest exporter of millets in the world. Under the leadership of Hon’ble Prime Minster of India, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has taken a number of initiatives such as celebration of International Year of Millets- 2023, holding of G20 Agriculture Ministerial Meeting (AMM), designating ICAR-IIMR, Hyderabad as Global Centre of Excellence on Millets (Shree Anna), notifying millet as a nutritious-cereal in April-2018 and its inclusion under the Poshan Mission campaign.
Shri. Sunil Sharma, Deputy Director General, India Post, said, “Postal stamps globally preserve culturally significant moments of progressive change across the nation. The Customised Stamp released in collaboration with ITC Limited, marks a milestone in this journey to mainstream and restore world’s superfood – millets not only nationally but also globally. It is a momentous occasion and brings to bear the collective effort of the nation.”
Speaking on the launch, Shri. S Sivakumar, Group Head, Agri Business, ITC Limited. said, “Supporting the Government’s focus on mainstreaming millets, ITC has spearheaded a dedicated initiative called ITC Mission Millets which is powered by a 3 pillar strategy. This encompasses development of a ‘good-for-you’ foods portfolio backed by innovation, implementation of sustainable farming systems with the creation of a robust millets agri value chain with special thrust on enhancing value-addition and market linkages. The focus is also on enhancing consumer awareness on the benefits of millets, a nutritionally superior food option. The coveted Postal stamp released in collaboration with India Post reflects ITC’s commitment to enhance awareness and commemorates our collective aspiration to create a larger market for millets.”
About ITC’s Mission Millets: As part of its commitment to ‘Help India Eat Better’, ITC Ltd. initiated the Mission Millets campaign in January 2023 to mainstream millets and integrate them into the brand’s product offerings. By recognising the climate resilience and superior nutritional value of millets. ITC’s Agri businesses are harnessing their energies in creating awareness and understanding about millets among farmers, growers and end consumers. ITC with its current e-choupal and other farmer network including FPOs, is working with farmers across various crop value chains including millets. ITC Foods has diversified its product range to include millets with the introduction of Sunfeast Farmlite Millet biscuits and Aashirvaad Ragi & Multi-Millet Flour. Additionally, the company is planning to introduce several other millet-based products such as noodles, pasta, vermicelli, choco stick, and more. To make millets more appealing and accessible, ITC Foods offers wellness-focused food products, curated millet-based food from its cloud kitchens and culinary delights with millets, all crafted by expert chefs from ITC Hotels. The focus on Millets further exemplifies ITC Hotels’ vision of using planet-friendly ingredients and bringing nutritious and delicious flavours to the palates of discerning guests. ITC’s expert chefs are creating easy to try recipes with millets to help encourage individuals experiment with the taste and texture of millets.