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Pearl Millet Nutrition and Consumption

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Millets are a significant dietary food for one-third of the world population, including people in Asia, the Russian Federation, and Africa, (1, 2) Based on a 5-year average (1999-2003*) eight countries depend on millet to provide over 200 calories a day, with half of those countries getting more than 400 calories a day from millet (see Figure 1*). Citizens of Niger rely on the staple food millet for over 1,000 daily calories, (3)(4). Looking at the top eight millet-consuming countries, we can compare their percapita daily consumption of calories (5-year average) from all grains (see Figure 2*).
Figure 1*
Figure 2*

Global Consumption

Millets are a large part of the basic diet for farm households in the world's poorest countries and among the poorest people (5).To the right (Figure 3*) is a table of all the countries that consumed at least 100,000 Metric Tonnes of millet on average for the past 5 years. Top consuming countries are identified in Figure 4*, including the top four countries: India, Nigeria, Niger and China. However, just because a country is a top global consumer does not mean that millet is a significant source of calories for them. India and China are rank as the #1 and #4 consumers of millet, but due to their population size they rank 11th and 38th in per-capita consumption, accordingly.*

[Finger] millet is an excellent dietary source of calcium, iron, manganese, and methionine -- an amino acid lacking in the diets of hundred of millions of the poor who live on starchy foods such as cassava, plantain, polished rice, and maize meal. (5) Millet use is diverse, including in cereals (including porridge and kasha), soups, breads and stuffings, fermented beverages, and baby food. (2)

Figure 3*
CountryMetric Ton 5-Year Avg.
India 9,041,765
Nigeria 4,299,211
Niger 1,733,793
China 1,116,505
Burkina Faso 856,337
Mali 701,701
Sudan 560,548
Uganda 408,137
Senegal 347,989
Chad 296,119
Russian Federation    280,941
Ethiopia 259,490
Nepal 251,027
Myanmar 137,759
Tanzania 136,409
Ghana 117,955

Figure 4*

Figure 5*

  1. Karen Railey, Whole Grains: Millet
  2. Agricultural Research Corporation ARC Sudan. (Accessed 3/30/06) ( Millet Research Program
  3. ICIPE-Mbita Point Research and Training Centre (2002).
  4. Management Approaches: Host Plants: Millets pushpull
  5. Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), Research & Impact: Areas of Research: Millet
  6. * FAOSTAT 2005 Data