Millet

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For other uses, see Millet (disambiguation).
Pearl millet in the field
Finger millet in the field
Ripe head of proso millet
Millets are a group of highly variable small-seeded grasses, widely grown around the world as cereal cropsor grains for fodder and human food. Millets are important crops in the semiarid tropics of Asia and Africa (especially in IndiaMaliNigeria, and Niger), with 97% of millet production in developing countries.[1] The crop is favored 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.[2] Finger milletproso millet, and foxtail millet are also important crop species. In the developed world, millets are less important. For example, in the United States, only proso millet is significant, and it is mostly grown forbird seed.[1]
While millets are indigenous to many parts of the world, it is believed that they had an evolutionary origin in tropical western Africa, as that is where the greatest number of both wild and cultivated forms exist.[3]Millets have been important food staples in human history, particularly in Asia and Africa. They have been in cultivation in East Asia for the last 10,000 years.[4]

Description[edit]

The minor millets consumption has been in practice since the beginning of ancient civilizations of world. Generally, the millets are small-grained, annual, warm-weather cereals belonging to grass family. They are highly tolerant to extreme weather conditions such as drought and are nutritious compared to the major cereals such as rice and wheat. They contain low phytic acid and are rich in dietary fiber, iron, calcium, and B vitamins. Moreover, these millets release sugar slowly in the blood and also diminish the glucose absorption. These properties of the minor millets made the present consumers attracted to the consumption of millet.

Millet varieties[edit]

Varieties of millet grown in India
Pearl millet
Thinai (foxtail) millet
Varagu (kodo) millet
- Major millets (the most widely cultivated species)[2]
Eragrostideae tribe :
  • Eleusine coracana : finger millet (also known as ragi, nachani,mandwa or Kezhvaragu in India), fourth-most cultivated millet