Source: google image
Millets are a group of highly variable small-seeded grasses, widely grown around the world as cereal crop or grains for fodder and human food. Millets are important crops in the semiarid tropics of Asia and Africa (especially in India, Mali, Nigeria, and Niger), with 97% of millet production in developing countries. The crop is favoured due to its productivity and short growing season under dry, high-temperature conditions.
The most widely grown millet is pearl millet, which is an important crop in India and parts of Africa. Finger millet, proso millet, and foxtail millet (Thinai) are also important crop species.
Millets may have been consumed by humans for some 7,000 years, and potentially had "a pivotal role in the rise of multi-crop agriculture and settled farming societies.
Pearl Millet was domesticated in the Sahel region of West Africa, where its wild ancestors are found. Evidence for the cultivation of Pearl Millet in Mali dates back to 2500 BC, and Pearl Millet is found in South Asia by 2300 BC
Research on millets is carried out by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics and ICAR-Indian Institute of Millets Research in Telangana, India, and by the USDA-ARS at Tifton, Georgia, United States. (1)
Generally, millets are small-grained, annual, warm-weather cereals belonging to grass family. They are highly tolerant of drought and other extreme weather conditions and have a similar nutrient content to other major cereals as maize and sorghum. As at 2016, Nigeria produced a yearly tonnage of 1,468,668million compared to 2008 which recorded the highest tonnage of 9,064,000million and its lowest in 2003 which was 909,560 thousand metric tons. Nigeria is the fifth producer of millet in the world. Millet is also an important food item for the population living in the drier parts of many other countries, especially in eastern and central Africa, and in the northern coastal countries of western Africa. In developing countries outside Africa, millet has local significance as a food in parts of some countries,such as China, India, Burma and North Korea. (2)
Pearl millet is one of the two major crops in the semiarid, impoverished, less fertile agriculture regions of Africa and southeast Asia. Millets are not only adapted to poor, droughty, and infertile soils, but they are also more reliable under these conditions than most other grain crops. This has, in part, made millet production popular, particularly in countries surrounding the sahara in western Africa.
Millets, however, do respond to high fertility and moisture. On a per hectare basis, millet grain produced per hectare can be two to four times higher with use of irrigation and soil supplements. Improved breeds of millet improve their disease resistance and can significantly enhance farm yield productivity.
PESTS AND DISEASES
Common diseases of Millet are mostly Fungal diseases which are:
Cercospora leaf spot, Ergot, Pearl Millet Downey Mildew, Rust, Smut. (3)
Some known pests are;
Stem borers and grain midge are of regular occurrence. Spike worms have recently become serious in the sub‐Sahelian zone of West Africa. Sporadic attacks of blister beetles, armyworms, grasshoppers, chinch bugs, leaf beetles, head caterpillars and head bugs result in severe yield losses in certain seasons. During the raining season ,there is usually a higher incidence of storage pests but maintaining a combination of cultural practices and resistant cultivars can prove to be effective in curbing these incidences.
Lastly, a common parasitic weed that grows in a millet farm is called striga or purple witchweed. (7)
Millet reaches maturity and ready for harvesting between 105 to 180 days after planting, depending on the variety. The crop is harvested by hand either by cutting the spikes from the plant or by cutting the whole plant. In large farms, millet is harvested which the use of farm implements. (3)
Millet Production in States in Nigeria.
Source: google image
In 2016, global production of millet was 28.4 million tonnes, led by India with 36% of the world total Niger also had significant production of 3.9m annually. Nigeria is the fifth producer of millet in the world as at 2016 with an annual tonnage of 1.5million tonnes (FAOSTAT of United Nation).
In general, millets are used in the production of beverage and can also serve as a source of food worldwide. Wheat allergy sufferers who needs gluten free diet can now supplement it with millet. Also various alcoholic beverages are produced from millets. It is a common ingredient in seeded bread. Millets are also used as bird and animal feed. In Nigeria, millet is used to make Kunu(local drink) and also used to mix Nunu (local milk drink) and Yoghurt.
Millet Production Quantity in Nigeria
Although millet represents less than 2 percent of world cereal utilization, it is an important staple in a large number of countries in the semi-arid tropics, where low precipitation and poor soils limit the cultivation of other major food crops.
Millet utilization is mostly confined to the developing countries, even more so after production and utilization fell sharply in the CIS, the largest producer in the developed world. Accurate data are not available for most countries, but it is estimated that about 80 percent of the world's millet (and over 95 percent in Asia and Africa) is used as food, the remainder being divided between feed (7 percent), other uses (seed, beer, etc.,) and waste
In recent time, 97% of the global millet production and seed demand comes from developing countries. India has the highest demand for millet seeds and is the largest millet producer globally, followed by Nigeria, Niger, China, and Mali. Pearl millet is the most cultivated millet, grown predominantly in India and parts of Africa. Millets are the way forward for countries like India and Africa, where food and nutritional security are major challenges. (6)
According to Fact.MR, the global millets market is expected to reach a value of over US$ 13 Mn by the end of 2022. Growth of the global millets market is mainly bound to various macro-economic and micro-economic factors. Sales of the millets is expected to remain high attributed to increasing preference for healthy and fiber-dense food products among customers. As consumers are becoming more aware about the healthy food products and prefer maintaining a healthy lifestyle, leading companies in food industry are focusing on offering millet-based food products globally. Besides food products, millets also continue to witness significant demand for production of the malted and alcoholic beverage products. Limited access to water resources in the semi-arid regions will continue to fuel sales of millets significantly. (5)
Culled :https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/millet #History (1) (2)
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