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World of Millets: Small Seeds, Big Nutrition


Millets: An Introduction

Millets, a term encompassing small-seeded grasses such as sorghum, pearl millet, ragi, and more, are emerging as nutricereals or dryland-cereals. These cereal crops, known for their high nutritive value, have sparked renewed interest globally. Initiatives to promote millet cultivation and consumption are on the rise, driven by a shared goal to combat health risks like diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular diseases.

Types of Millet Varieties

Pearl Millet

1. Pearl Millet:

  • The extensively cultivated pearl millet stands out with its large stems, leaves, and heads.

  • Bajra, a type of pearl millet, takes centre stage in India as one of the most cultivated millet crop.

2. Finger Millet:

Finger Millet
  • Commonly known as ragi in India and Nepal, finger millet boasts spikes or "fingers" at the top of its stem.

  • A staple grain in Eastern Africa and Asia, finger millet is gaining popularity.

3. Foxtail Millet:

Foxtail Millet
  • Foxtail millet grains are a treasure trove of minerals, dietary fibre, polyphenols, and proteins.

  • Ideal for various health needs, it plays a crucial role for growing children, pregnant women, and those combating obesity and diabetes.

4. Barnyard Millet:

Barnyard Millet
  • Also known as Sanwa, barnyard millet is packed with dietary fibres, aiding bowel movement and weight loss.

  • Rich in calcium and phosphorus, it contributes to strengthened bone density.

5. Kodo Millet:

Kodo Millet
  • Kodo millet, with higher lecithin amino acid, is a digestible variant.

  • A source of B vitamins and other essential nutrients, it adds nutritional value to diets.

6. Proso Millet:

Porso Millet
  • Rich in minerals, dietary fibre, polyphenols, and proteins, proso millet is gluten-free.

  • It contains high lecithin, supporting the neural health system.

7. Little Millet:

Little Millet
  • Also known as Moraiyo, Kutki, Shavan, and Sama, little millet is a traditional crop grown throughout India.

  • Despite its small size, it packs a nutritional punch.

Key Market Trends

India Dominates the Global Production

  • The government and organisations are promoting millet production in India due to its importance in making a nutritional diet. Due to their nutritional value, millets are notified as Nutri-Cereals by the GOI. Furthermore, the Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare (DA&FW) is implementing a sub-mission on nutri-cereals under National Food Security Mission to enhance the area, production and productivity of millets.

  • According to Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), global millet production was estimated at 28.33 million metric tons in 2019, which increased to 30.08 million metric tons in 2021. India is the largest global producer, with a 43.0% global market share in 2021 with Sorghum(jowar), Pearl Millet (bajra), Finger millet (ragi), and other minor millets are grown in the country. According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, millet production in India has increased from 14.52 million tonnes in 2015-16 to 17.96 million metric tons in 2020-21.

  • The expanding domestic production has further boosted the export of millet. According to Director General for Commercial Intelligence & Statistics (DGCI & S), the millet exports in India rose by 8% to 159,332.16 metric tons in 2021-22 against 147,501.08 metric tons in 2020-21, which is anticipated to boost the local millet production. Furthermore, the government of India is promoting the export of millet due to rising demand in the global market.

  • For instance, Agriculture and Processed products Export Development Authority (APEDA) has planned 16 programs for the promotion of millets and millet products in countries such as UAE, Indonesia, the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom, Germany, South Africa, Australia, Saudi Arabia, etc. to increase the millet exports of the country. Thus, the rising demand for millets in the global market and increased domestic production in India are anticipated to drive the market in the coming years.

Factors Driving Millet Growth

  • Growing urban population preference for healthy food in Asia Pacific.

  • Millets fortify essential nutrients, making them ideal for infant food and nutrition products.

  • Photo-insensitive and resilient to climate change, millets have a low carbon and water footprint.

  • Superior nutritional properties compared to commonly consumed cereals like rice and wheat.

  • Sustainable alternative to water-intensive rice and wheat production.

Opportunities in the Millet Market

  • Millets contain essential nutrients for healthy growth in children, leading to increased usage in infant food and nutrition products.

  • Millets find applications in gluten-free beers, expanding their reach in the beverage industry.

  • Government initiatives supporting nutrition programs and millet inclusion in food and beverage products.


In the diverse world of millets, from pearl millet's dominance to the gluten-free goodness of proso millet, these small seeds are making a big impact on nutrition and agriculture. As the world turns towards healthier alternatives, millets stand tall as resilient, nutritious, and sustainable crops, offering a promising future for farmers and consumers alike.

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30 de jan.
Avaliado com 5 de 5 estrelas.

Quite informative and detailed.

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