Millets and Sorghums

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Millets and Sorghums


This group of crops is of great importance particularly in Asia. They are really drought-resistant and they can grow on poor soils, under high temperature and low rainfall conditions. Like other inferior grains they are used as food for man in the poorer area, and feed for animals in the affluent ones. In fact, the largest acreage is found to be devoted in Asia and Africa which together account for nearly 90% of the world's acreage.

Millets demand moderate amounts of moisture during the early period of growth but can mature and ripen under virtual drought conditions. For certain varieties a growing period of 50 to 90 days is sufficient. These characteristics explain their concentrations in warm, sub-humid and semi-arid area with seasonal rainfall. The quick maturing varieties are sometimes planted as a catch crop after the failure of the main crop. Millets are an important source of food in the areas with poor rain. They constitute the main source of food to the teeming million of India and China. They are produced under primitive methods of cultivation, which explain their importance in Africa. However, about 85% of the world production is used for food.

In India and Pakistan the total acreage under millets and sorghums represents about 50% of the world's acreage under these two groups of crops. In India area of cultivation are confined to the Deccan plateau and the drier parts of Rajasthan. Sorghum tends to be grown on better soils and under more humid conditions.

Production. World production of millet and sorghum during 1987-88 amounted to 12.4 million metric tons and 27.5 million metric tons respectively. Among the continents, Asia stands first as a producer of millet. Asia produced 8.2 million metric tons in 1987-88.

Asia produces on average 75% of millet. Russia, Mexico, China, and the Savanna lands of Africa are other important producers of millets and sorghums.

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