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 favored due to its productivity and short growing season under dry, high-temperature conditions.
Millets are indigenous to many parts of the world. 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 are also important crop species.
Millets may have been consumed by humans for about 7,000 years and potentially had "a pivotal role in the rise of multi-crop agriculture and settled farming societies".
Generally, millets are small-grained, annual, warm-weather cereals belonging to the grass family. They are highly tolerant of drought and other extreme weather conditions and have a similar nutrient content to other major cereals.
The different species of millets are not necessarily closely related. All are members of the family Poaceae (the grasses) but can belong to different tribes or even subfamilies.
The most commonly cultivated millets are in bold and marked with an *.
The various species called millet were initially domesticated in different parts of the world most notably East Asia, South Asia, West Africa, and East Africa. However the domesticated varieties have often spread well beyond their initial area.
Specialized archaeologists called palaeoethnobotanists, relying on data such as the relative abundance of charred grains found in archaeological sites, hypothesize that the cultivation of millets was of greater prevalence in prehistory than rice, especially in northern China and Korea. Millets also formed important parts of the prehistoric diet in Indian, Chinese Neolithic and Korean Mumun societies.
Proso millet (Panicum miliaceum) and foxtail millet (Setaria italica) were important crops beginning in the Early Neolithic of China. Some of the earliest evidence of millet cultivation in China was found at Cishan (north) where proso millet husk phytoliths and biomolecular components have been identified around 10,300–8,700 years ago in storage pits along with remains of pit-houses, pottery, and stone tools related to millet cultivation. Evidence at Cishan for foxtail millet dates back to around 8,700 years ago. The oldest evidence of noodles in China were made from these two varieties of millet in a 4,000-year-old earthenwear bowl containing well-preserved noodles found at the Lajia archaeological site in north China.
Palaeoethnobotanists have found evidence of the cultivation of millet in the Korean Peninsula dating to the Middle Jeulmun pottery period (around 3500–2000 BCE). Millet continued to be an important element in the intensive, multicropping agriculture of the Mumun pottery period (about 1500–300 BCE) in Korea. Millets and their wild ancestors, such as barnyard grass and panic grass, were also cultivated in Japan during the Jōmon period some time after 4000 BCE.
Little millet (Panicum sumatrense) is believed to have been domesticated around 5000 before present in South Asia and Kodo millet (Paspalum scrobiculatum) around 3700 before present also in South Asia. Various, millets have been mentioned in some of the Yajurveda texts, identifying foxtail millet (priyaṅgu), Barnyard millet (aṇu) and black finger millet (śyāmāka), indicating that millet cultivation was happening around 1200 BCE in India.:505
Pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum) was definitely domesticated in Africa by 3500 before present though 8000 before present is thought likely.:160 Early evidence includes finds at Birimi in West Africa with the earliest at Dhar Tichitt in Mauritania.
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 BCE, and pearl millet is found in the Indian subcontinent by 2300 BCE.
The cultivation of common millet as the earliest dry crop in East Asia has been attributed to its resistance to drought, and this has been suggested to have aided its spread. Asian varieties of millet made their way from China to the Black Sea region of Europe by 5000 BCE.
Millet was growing wild in Greece as early as 3000 BCE, and bulk storage containers for millet have been found from the Late Bronze Age in Macedonia and northern Greece. Hesiod describes that "the beards grow round the millet, which men sow in summer." And millet is listed along with wheat in the 3rd century BCE by Theophrastus in his "Enquiry into Plants".
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.
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 production can be 2–4 times higher with use of irrigation and soil supplements. Improved breeds of millet improve their disease resistance and can significantly enhance farm yield productivity. There has been cooperation between poor countries to improve millet yields. For example, "Okashana 1", a variety developed in India from a natural-growing millet variety in Burkina Faso, doubled yields. This breed was selected for trials in Zimbabwe. From there it was taken to Namibia, where it was released in 1990 and enthusiastically adopted by farmers. Okashana 1 became the most popular variety in Namibia, the only non-Sahelian country where pearl millet – locally known as mahangu – is the dominant food staple for consumers. "Okashana 1" was then introduced to Chad. The breed has significantly enhanced yields in Mauritania and Benin.
|Millet production – 2016|
|Country||Production (millions of tonnes)|
Millets are major food sources in arid and semiarid regions of the world, and feature in the traditional cuisine of many others. In western India, sorghum (called jowar, jola, jonnalu, jwaarie, or jondhahlaa in Gujarati, Kannada, Telugu, Hindi and Marathi languages, respectively; mutthaari, kora, or panjappullu in Malayalam; or cholam in Tamil) has been commonly used with millet flour (called jowari in western India) for hundreds of years to make the local staple, hand-rolled (that is, made without a rolling pin) flat bread (rotla in Gujarati, bhakri in Marathi, or roti in other languages). Another cereal grain popularly used in rural areas and by poor people to consume as a staple in the form of roti. Other millets such as ragi (finger millet) in Karnataka, naachanie in Maharashtra, or kezhvaragu in Tamil, "ragulu" in Telugu, with the popular ragi rotti and Ragi mudde is a popular meal in Karnataka. Ragi, as it is popularly known, is dark in color like rye, but rougher in texture.
Millet porridge is a traditional food in Russian, German, and Chinese сuisines. In Russia, it is eaten sweet (with milk and sugar added at the end of the cooking process) or savoury with meat or vegetable stews. In China, it is eaten without milk or sugar, frequently with beans, sweet potato, and/or various types of squash. In Germany, it is also eaten sweet, boiled in water with apples added during the boiling process and honey added during the cooling process.
Millet is also the main ingredient in a Vietnamese sweet snack called bánh đa kê. It contains a layer of smashed millet and mungbean topped with sliced dried coconut meat wrapped in a crunchy rice cake. It is a specialty of Hanoi.
Per capita consumption of millets as food varies in different parts of the world with consumption being the highest in Western Africa. In the Sahel region, millet is estimated to account for about 35 percent of total cereal food consumption in Burkina Faso, Chad and the Gambia. In Mali and Senegal, millets constitute roughly 40 percent of total cereal food consumption per capita, while in Niger and arid Namibia it is over 65 percent (see mahangu). Other countries in Africa where millets are a significant food source include Ethiopia, Nigeria and Uganda. 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.
The use of millets as food fell between the 1970s and the 2000s, both in urban and rural areas, as developing countries such as India have experienced rapid economic growth and witnessed a significant increase in per capita consumption of other cereals.
People affected by gluten-related disorders, such as coeliac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity and wheat allergy sufferers, who need a gluten-free diet, can replace gluten-containing cereals in their diets with millet. Nevertheless, while millet does not contain gluten, its grains and flour may be contaminated with gluten-containing cereals.
It is a common ingredient in seeded bread.
Millets are also used as bird and animal feed.
In addition to being used for seed, millet is also used as a grazing forage crop. Instead of letting the plant reach maturity, it can be grazed by stock and is commonly used for sheep and cattle.
Millet is a C4 plant, which means that it has good water-use efficiency and utilizes high temperature and is therefore a summer crop. A C4 plant uses a different enzyme in photosynthesis from C3 plants, and this is why it improves water efficiency.
In southern Australia millet is used as a summer quality pasture, utilizing warm temperatures and summer storms. Millet is frost-sensitive and is sown after the frost period, once soil temperature has stabilised at 14 °C or higher. It is sown at a shallow depth.
Millet grows rapidly and can be grazed 5–7 weeks after sowing, when it is 20–30 cm high. The highest feed value is from the young green leaf and shoots. The plant can quickly come to head, so it must be managed accordingly because as the plant matures, the value and palatability of feed reduces.
The Japanese millets (Echinochloa esculenta) are considered the best for grazing and in particular Shirohie, a new variety of Japanese millet, is the best suited variety for grazing. This is due to a number of factors: it gives better regrowth and is later to mature compared to other Japanese millets; it is cheap – cost of seed is $2–$3 per kg, and sowing rates are around 10 kg per hectare for dryland production; it is quick to establish, can be grazed early, and is suitable for both sheep and cattle.
Compared to forage sorghum, which is grown as an alternative grazing forage, animals gain weight faster on millet, and it has better hay or silage potential, although it produces less dry matter. Lambs do better on millet compared to sorghum. Millet does not contain prussic acid, which can be in sorghum. Prussic acid poisons animals by inhibiting oxygen utilisation by the cells and is transported in the blood around the body — ultimately the animal will die from asphyxia. There is no need for additional feed supplements such as Sulphur or salt blocks with millet.
The rapid growth of millet as a grazing crop allows flexibility in its use. Farmers can wait until sufficient late spring / summer moisture is present and then make use of it. It is ideally suited to irrigation where livestock finishing is required.
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||1,582 kJ (378 kcal)|
|Dietary fiber||8.5 g|
|Pantothenic acid (B5)|
|†Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.|
In a 100 gram serving, raw millet provides 378 calories and is a rich source (20% or more of the Daily Value, DV) of protein, dietary fiber, several B vitamins and numerous dietary minerals, especially manganese at 76% DV (USDA nutrient table). Raw millet is 9% water, 73% carbohydrates, 4% fat and 11% protein (table).
The following table shows the nutrient content of millet compared to major staple foods in a raw form. Raw forms, however, are not edible and cannot be fully digested. These must be prepared and cooked as appropriate for human consumption. In processed and cooked form, the relative nutritional and antinutritional contents of each of these grains is remarkably different from that of raw forms reported in this table. The nutritional value in the cooked form depends on the cooking method.
(per 100 g portion, raw grain)
|pantothenic acid (mg)||0.1||0.9||1.0||0.7||<0.9||0.8|
|Crop / nutrient||Protein (g)||Fiber (g)||Minerals (g)||Iron (mg)||Calcium (mg)|
|Brown top millet||11.5||12.5||4.2||0.65||0.01|
Bran, also known as miller's bran, is the hard outer layers of cereal grain. It consists of the combined aleurone and pericarp. Along with germ, it is an integral part of whole grains, and is often produced as a byproduct of milling in the production of refined grains.
Bran is present in cereal grain, including rice, corn (maize), wheat, oats, barley, rye and millet. Bran is not the same as chaff, which is a coarser scaly material surrounding the grain but not forming part of the grain itself.Burkinabe cuisine
Burkinabé cuisine, the cuisine of Burkina Faso, is similar to the cuisines in many parts of West Africa, and is based on staple foods of sorghum, millet, rice, fonio, maize, peanuts, potatoes, beans, yams and okra. Rice, maize and millet are the most commonly eaten grains. Grilled meat is common, particularly mutton, goat, beef and fish. Vegetables include, besides yams and potatoes, okra, tomatoes, zucchini, carrots, leeks, onions, beets, pumpkins, cucumbers, cabbage, sorrel and spinach. Although imported products are becoming more common in urban areas, meals in more rural areas typically consist of tô, a sauce of corchorus or baobab leaves, as well as the calyx from Bombax costatum, dried fish, and spices such as chili and soumbala.Chadian cuisine
Chadian cuisine is the cooking traditions, practices, foods and dishes associated with the Republic of Chad. Chadians use a medium variety of grains, vegetables, fruits and meats. Commonly consumed grains include millet, sorghum, and rice as staple foods. Commonly eaten vegetables include okra and cassava. A variety of fruits are also eaten. Meats include mutton, chicken, pork, goat, fish, lamb and beef. The day's main meal is typically consumed in the evening on a large communal plate, with men and women usually eating in separate areas. This meal is typically served on the ground upon a mat, with people sitting and eating around it.Cuisine of Niger
The cuisine of Niger takes after many traditional African cuisines, and a significant amount of spices are used in dishes. Grilled meat, seasonal vegetables, salads and various sauces are some of the foods consumed.
Meals in Niger usually start with colorful salads made from seasonal vegetables. Typical Nigerien meals consist of a starch (rice being the most popular) paired with a sauce or stew. The stews are usually made with vegetables because meat is very scarce. The starches eaten most often are millet and rice. Staple foods include millet, rice, cassava, sorghum, maize and beans. Couscous is saved for special occasions. Porridge, wheat dumplings, and beignets are some of Niger's popular snacks.Plant agriculture production in Niger is significantly reliant upon rainfall to provide water for plants, and droughts have adversely affected Niger's agriculture production in the past, threatening the country's domestic food supply.Eleusine coracana
Eleusine coracana, or finger millet, is an annual herbaceous plant widely grown as a cereal crop in the arid and semiarid areas in Africa and Asia. It is a tetraploid and self-pollinating species probably evolved from its wild relative Eleusine africana.Finger millet is native to the Ethiopian and Ugandan highlands. Interesting crop characteristics of finger millet are the ability to withstand cultivation at altitudes over 2000 m above sea level, its high drought tolerance, and the long storage time of the grains.Foxtail millet
Foxtail millet (Chinese: 小米; botanic name Setaria italica, synonym Panicum italicum L.) is an annual grass grown for human food. It is the second-most widely planted species of millet, and the most important in East Asia. It has the longest history of cultivation among the millets, having been grown in India since antiquity. According to recent research, it was first domesticated in China around 6,000 BC. Other names for the species include dwarf setaria, foxtail bristle-grass, giant setaria, green foxtail, Italian millet, German millet, and Hungarian millet.Francis Davis Millet
Francis Davis Millet (November 3, 1848 – April 15, 1912) was an American academic classical painter, sculptor, and writer who died in the sinking of the RMS Titanic on April 15, 1912.Grain
A grain is a small, hard, dry seed, with or without an attached hull or fruit layer, harvested for human or animal consumption. A grain crop is a grain-producing plant. The two main types of commercial grain crops are cereals and legumes.
After being harvested, dry grains are more durable than other staple foods, such as starchy fruits (plantains, breadfruit, etc.) and tubers (sweet potatoes, cassava, and more). This durability has made grains well suited to industrial agriculture, since they can be mechanically harvested, transported by rail or ship, stored for long periods in silos, and milled for flour or pressed for oil. Thus, major global commodity markets exist for maize, rice, soybeans, wheat and other grains but not for tubers, vegetables, or other crops.Grand National Assembly of Turkey
The Grand National Assembly of Turkey (Turkish: Türkiye Büyük Millet Meclisi), usually referred to simply as the TBMM or Parliament (Turkish: Meclis or Parlamento), is the unicameral Turkish legislature. It is the sole body given the legislative prerogatives by the Turkish Constitution. It was founded in Ankara on 23 April 1920 in the midst of the National Campaign. The parliament was fundamental in the efforts of Mareşal Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, 1st President of the Republic of Turkey, and his colleagues to found a new state out of the remnants of the Ottoman Empire.Jean-François Millet
Jean-François Millet (French: [milɛ]; October 4, 1814 – January 20, 1875) was a French painter and one of the founders of the Barbizon school in rural France. Millet is noted for his scenes of peasant farmers; he can be categorized as part of the Realism art movement.Millet (Ottoman Empire)
In the Ottoman Empire, a millet was a separate court of law pertaining to "personal law" under which a confessional community (a group abiding by the laws of Muslim Sharia, Christian Canon law, or Jewish Halakha) was allowed to rule itself under its own laws. Despite frequently being referred to as a "system", before the nineteenth century the organization of what are now retrospectively called millets in the Ottoman Empire was far from systematic. Rather, non-Muslims were simply given a significant degree of autonomy within their own community, without an overarching structure for the 'millet' as a whole. The notion of distinct millets corresponding to different religious communities within the empire would not emerge until the eighteenth century. Subsequently, the existence of the millet system was justified through numerous foundation myths linking it back to the time of Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror (r. 1451-81), although it is now understood that no such system existed in the fifteenth century. After the Ottoman Tanzimat (1839–76) reforms, the term was used for legally protected religious minority groups, similar to the way other countries use the word nation. The word millet comes from the Arabic word millah (ملة) and literally means "nation". The millet system has been called an example of pre-modern religious pluralism.Pearl millet
Pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum) is the most widely grown type of millet. It has been grown in Africa and the Indian subcontinent since prehistoric times. The center of diversity, and suggested area of domestication, for the crop is in the Sahel zone of West Africa. Recent archaeobotanical research has confirmed the presence of domesticated pearl millet on the Sahel zone of northern Mali between 2500 and 2000 BC. Cultivation subsequently spread and moved overseas to India. The earliest archaeological records in the Indian subcontinent date to around 2000 BC, and it spread rapidly through Northern Indian subcontinent reaching South India by 1500 BC, based on evidence from the site of Hallur. Cultivation also spread throughout eastern and southern parts of Africa. Pearl millet is widely grown in the northeastern part of Nigeria (especially in Borno and Yobe states). It is a major source of food to the local villagers of that region. The crop grows easily in that region due to its ability to withstand harsh weather conditions like drought and flood. Records exist for cultivation of pearl millet in the United States in the 1850s, and the crop was introduced into Brazil in the 1960s.Proso millet
Panicum miliaceum is a grain crop with many common names including proso millet, broomcorn millet, common millet,, hog millet, Kashfi millet red millet, and white millet,. Archeological evidence suggests that crop was first domesticated before 10,000 BCE in Northern China. The crop is extensively cultivated in China, India, Nepal, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, the Middle East, Turkey, Romania, and the United States, where approximately half a million acres are grown each year. The crop is notable both for its extremely short lifespan, with some varieties producing grain only 60 days after planting, and its low water requirements producing grain more efficiently per unit of moisture than any other grain species tested. The name "proso millet" comes from the pan-Slavic general and generic name for millet Croatian: proso). Proso millet is a relative of foxtail millet, pearl millet, maize, and sorghum within the grass sub-family Panicoideae. While all of these crops utilize C4 photosynthesis, the others all employ the NADP-ME as their primary carbon shuttle pathway while the primary C4 carbon shuttle in proso millet is the NAD-ME pathway.Radical 202
Radical 202 meaning "millet" is 1 of 4 Kangxi radicals (214 radicals total) composed of 12 strokes.
In the Kangxi Dictionary there are 46 characters (out of 49,030) to be found under this radical.Rum Millet
Rūm millet (millet-i Rûm), or "Roman nation", was the name of the Eastern Orthodox Christian community in the Ottoman Empire. In fact, the Christians were conquered by Islam, but enjoyed a certain internal autonomy.Sigurd
Sigurd (Old Norse: Sigurðr) or Siegfried (Middle High German: Sîvrit) is a legendary hero of Germanic mythology, who killed a dragon and was later murdered. It is possible he was inspired by one or more figures from the Frankish Merovingian dynasty, with Sigebert I being the most popular contender. Older scholarship sometimes connected him with Arminius, victor of the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest. He may also have a purely mythological origin. Sigurd's story is first attested on a series of carvings, including runestones from Sweden and stone crosses from the British Isles, dating from the eleventh century.
In both the Norse and continental Germanic tradition, Sigurd is portrayed as dying as the result of a quarrel between his wife (Gudrun/Kriemhild) and another woman, Brunhild, whom he has tricked into marrying the Burgundian king Gunnar/Gunther. His slaying of a dragon and possession of the hoard of the Nibelungen is also common to both traditions. In other respects, however, the two traditions appear to diverge. The most important works to feature Sigurd are the Nibelungenlied, the Völsunga saga, and the Poetic Edda. He also appears in numerous other works from both Germany and Scandinavia, including a series of medieval and early modern Scandinavian ballads.
Richard Wagner used the legends about Sigurd/Siegfried in his operas Siegfried and Götterdämmerung. Wagner relied heavily on the Norse tradition in creating his version of Siegfried. His depiction of the hero has influenced many subsequent depictions.
In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Siegfried became heavily associated with German nationalism.
The Thidrekssaga finishes its tale of Sigurd by saying
[E]veryone said that no man now living or ever after would be born who would be equal to him in strength, courage, and in all sorts of courtesy, as well as in boldness and generosity that he had above all men, and that his name would never perish in the German tongue, and the same was true with the Norsemen.Sorghum
Sorghum is a genus of flowering plants in the grass family Poaceae. Seventeen of the 25 species are native to Australia, with the range of some extending to Africa, Asia, Mesoamerica, and certain islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. One species is grown for grain, while many others are used as fodder plants, either cultivated in warm climates worldwide or naturalized, in pasture lands. Sorghum is in the subfamily Panicoideae and the tribe Andropogoneae (the tribe of big bluestem and sugarcane).Sorghum bicolor
Sorghum bicolor, commonly called sorghum () and also known as great millet, durra, jowari, or milo, is a grass species cultivated for its grain, which is used for food for humans, animal feed, and ethanol production. Sorghum originated in Africa, and is now cultivated widely in tropical and subtropical regions. Sorghum is the world's fifth-most important cereal crop after rice, wheat, maize, and barley. S. bicolor is typically an annual, but some cultivars are perennial. It grows in clumps that may reach over 4 m high. The grain is small, ranging from 2 to 4 mm in diameter. Sweet sorghums are sorghum cultivars that are primarily grown for forage, syrup production, and ethanol; they are taller than those grown for grain.S. bicolor is the cultivated species of sorghum; its wild relatives make up the botanical genus Sorghum.Zeno's paradoxes
Zeno's paradoxes are a set of philosophical problems generally thought to have been devised by Greek philosopher Zeno of Elea (c. 490–430 BC) to support Parmenides' doctrine that contrary to the evidence of one's senses, the belief in plurality and change is mistaken, and in particular that motion is nothing but an illusion. It is usually assumed, based on Plato's Parmenides (128a–d), that Zeno took on the project of creating these paradoxes because other philosophers had created paradoxes against Parmenides' view. Thus Plato has Zeno say the purpose of the paradoxes "is to show that their hypothesis that existences are many, if properly followed up, leads to still more absurd results than the hypothesis that they are one." Plato has Socrates claim that Zeno and Parmenides were essentially arguing exactly the same point.Some of Zeno's nine surviving paradoxes (preserved in Aristotle's Physics
and Simplicius's commentary thereon) are essentially equivalent to one another. Aristotle offered a refutation of some of them. Three of the strongest and most famous—that of Achilles and the tortoise, the Dichotomy argument, and that of an arrow in flight—are presented in detail below.
Zeno's arguments are perhaps the first examples of a method of proof called reductio ad absurdum also known as proof by contradiction. They are also credited as a source of the dialectic method used by Socrates.Some mathematicians and historians, such as Carl Boyer, hold that Zeno's paradoxes are simply mathematical problems, for which modern calculus provides a mathematical solution.
Some philosophers, however, say that Zeno's paradoxes and their variations (see Thomson's lamp) remain relevant metaphysical problems.The origins of the paradoxes are somewhat unclear. Diogenes Laërtius, a fourth source for information about Zeno and his teachings, citing Favorinus, says that Zeno's teacher Parmenides was the first to introduce the Achilles and the tortoise paradox. But in a later passage, Laërtius attributes the origin of the paradox to Zeno, explaining that Favorinus disagrees.