Millet utilization

Contents - Previous - Next

Of the 30 million tonnes of millet produced in the world about 90 percent is utilized in developing countries and only a tiny volume is used in the developed countries outside the former Soviet Union. Exact statistical data are unavailable for most countries, but it is estimated that a total of 20 million tonnes are consumed as food, the rest being equally divided between feed and other uses such as seed, the preparation of alcoholic beverages and waste. Six countries (China, Ethiopia, India, the Niger, Nigeria and the former Soviet Union) are estimated to account for about 80 percent of global millet utilization (Table 10).

TABLE 10: Estimated millet utilization, 1981/82 to 1985/86 average

Region or country Food (10 t) Feed (10 t) Other usesa (10 t) Total (10 t) Per caput food use (kg/yr)
Africab 7 094 122 1 921 9 137 13.5
Burkina Faso 381 - 60 441 50.8
Ethiopia 1 020 - 196 1 216 24.9
Mali 516 1 88 605 67.7
Niger 977 21 215 1 213 168.9
Nigeria 2 365 86 700 3 151 26.5
Senegal 397 2 80 479 64.4
Uganda 259 47 150 456 17.8
Asia 14441 1 665 1 305 17411 5.3
China 4 857 1 120 480 6 457 4.7
India 8794 150 710 9664 11.9
Central America - - - - -
South America - 91 5 96 -
North America - 104 6 110 -
Europe - 104 6 110 -
USSR 800 1 107 400 2 307 2.9
Oceania - 13 2 15 -
World 22 335 3 144 3 642 29 121 4.8
Developing countries 21 535 1 878 3 231 26 644 6.1
Developed countries 800 1 266 411 2 477 0.7

a Food seed, manufacturing purposes and waste.
b Including fonio, and teff.
Source: FAO,1990b.

Human food

Per caput food consumption of millet varies greatly among countries, though it is highest in Africa. In the Sahel, millet is estimated to account for about one-third of total cereal food consumption in Burkina Faso, Chad and the Gambia, roughly 40 percent in Mali and Senegal and over twothirds in the Niger. Other countries in Africa where millet is a significant food item 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 but also 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, Myanmar and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Although national per caput levels are rather low in the countries that consume the most millet, i.e. China and India, food use of millet is important in certain areas of these countries.

World consumption of millet as food has only grown marginally during the recent past in contrast to the significant increase in consumption of other cereals. There has been a tendency in all countries for the per caput consumption of millet to decline when per caput income exceeds certain levels because of the lower prestige associated with its consumption. The other reasons for stagnating consumption are the same as those discussed above for sorghum.

Animal feed

Utilization of millet as animal feed is negligible in absolute terms and compared with other uses and other cereals. It has been estimated that only about 10 percent of the millet used globally is fed to animals.


Contents - Previous - Next