Millets are mainly cereal crops that are used both as fodder as well as food for human beings. This crop has a comparatively short growing period and grows well in semi arid areas. Millets have been used as a staple food for many years now, ever since ancient times.
Also, since they are not so sensitive to weather changes or rough conditions such as dry season, they are the preferred crops in most countries where agriculture is one of the most important sectors in their GDP. It is a rich source of proteins, fibers as well as several minerals. Let’s check the top 10 largest millets producing countries in the world in 2018.
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Millet production holds a very important place in the agricultural sector of Senegal. Due to inconsistency in weather conditions, obsolete cultivation mechanisms and lower quality of seeds, the per hectare output had been rather low until now. However, as new technologies have taken over the entire agricultural hub of Senegal, there have been significant changes in production rate. There has been an exponential increase at the rate of 130% and since agriculture is one of the most important formulants of the economic growth plan for the country, this technological change was highly appreciated and looked forward to.
Millets are one of the most frequently used staples in the Chadian Cuisine. The entire agriculture in Chad focuses on bulk millet production, more so in the south. Two popular alcoholic beverages that are consumed in Chad – bili-bili and arghi are also produced by the use of millets. 675, 000 tonnes of millet was produced in Chad in the year 2016.
Finger Millet is the most important breed of millets that is found in Ethiopia and finds its way into the daily diet. For this, several schemes have been introduced by the government to increase production of this crop. Due to these, exponential growth has been seen for finger millets. Ethiopia used 429, 678 hectares of land for its cultivation which brought about 743, 852 tonnes of millet. Local varieties for this good still continue to be sold but the popularisation among the people of the country remains stable and consistent, if not higher than before.
The most important source of carbohydrates, calories as well as fats in Sudan is Millets. Since the contents of millet and wheat are somewhat similar, while the cost of millet being cheaper, it goes without saying that people buy millets more often without having to compromise much on the quality. Its consumption is more common in the western part of the country. Thus, it is mostly the rural areas in Sudan that have a higher rate of consumption of this crop, considering it is an inferior one. It produced 1,484,000 tonnes of millet the previous year.
6. Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso produced about 1.5 million tonnes of millet in the previous year. Pearl millet and finger millet are the most common types of millet being produced in this country. This crop is grown traditionally in a wide range of regions all over the country. The HOPS project that was initiated helped a great deal in increasing the yield and productivity as well as the consistency of the millet crop, along with the use of improved technologies.
Millet is one of the most important crops of the country Mali when it comes to food security as well as revenue earned by crop production. Over half of the population that is involved in farming in Mali grows this particular crop. It is the rural typical crop but is also consumed quite a lot of the urban cities and towns(due to the availability of millet processed foods). It grew up to an average of about 2 million tonnes of millet in the past years. The most important challenge faced recently is to keep up its quality while supplying it at an affordable price which is being tried to overcome by introducing new technologies into its production.
Millet is one crop grown in China that has been continued since time and ages and has also been found in archaeological sites. Since millet required negligible human care in its production, it was used in earlier times and still is. It is mostly grown in the northern and sometimes the north-eastern parts of the country. It has an ever-increasing demand in the market and is eaten in a variety of ways including – with sweet potato and with beans.
Pearl millet is the most common type of millet that is consumed in Niger, and is also considered to be one of the most famous staple foods all over. Many organic, as well as inorganic fertilisers, were used to increase the production of millets in the country since the demand was always high. Processed millet foods have a high percentage of the total protein that is taken by all consumers. 13% of the world’s millet production is done by Niger.
Nigeria has a very high percentage when it comes to total millet production in the world. Th yield in this country was almost doubled by the project that was initiated for this purpose – ICRISAT. The yield increases now since less area is needed for a higher productivity level. This was achieved through fertilisers, support by the government as well as exposing the farmers to a better quality of millet seeds for an equivalent price. It is most common in the tropical regions i.e., the northern area of Nigeria.
India is the largest producer of millet in the world and accounts for about 40% of the entire yield. It is known to be part of the staple diet from prehistoric times. Pearl millet is the most frequently grown type of millet. Grown mostly in areas with lesser rainfall, an area of about 30 million acres is used solely for growing millets – Uttar Pradesh and Punjab being the highest ones. About 10 million tonnes of millet is produced in India each year, thus making it the country with the highest yield. It is used in India after being grinded and turned into flour that is then used to make breads, and is consumed mostly in rural areas or by the labor class.
Thus, we see that owing to the low costs of millets along with the nutritional value that is equivalent to that of wheat and maize, millets are one of the highest consumed crops of the world. It is tolerant to rough seasons such as drought and does not require high maintenance or a high level of human interference. With obsolete technology being replaced by new ones, the productivity level is increasing day by day, thus leading to cheaper and better quality millets all over the world for consumption.