Chic African Culture Africa Factbook

Learn About Millet Grain Plants

Millet is not just one grain but the name given to a group of several different grains.

Millet is a high protein whole grain that refers to a range of grains, not just one variety. Millet is small round grains varying in colors from brown, white, yellow and red.

Everything you ever wanted to know about millet

Everything you ever wanted to know about millet grains.

What is millet used for? Millet grain is used mainly as whole, cracked or ground flour, dough, or grain-like rice. These are made into fermented breads, foods, and thick porridges, steam cooked dishes, non-alcoholic beverages and snacks. Millet is not just one grain but the name given to a group of several different grains.

Pearl millet is one variety of millet, which originated in central tropical Africa. It is believed the plant was farmed as a food crop over 5,000 years ago along the southern margins of the central highlands of the Sahara desert. It has since become widely distributed across the semiarid tropics of Africa and Asia.

Sorghum is a whole grain and the fifth most important cereal crop in the world used for food and beer. Sorghum was probably taken to India from eastern Africa during the first millennium BC. It is reported to have existed there around 1000 B.C. Sorghum was probably taken in ships as food in the first instance; chow sea traffic has operated for some 3000 years between East Africa and India through the Sebaran Lane in southern Arabia. The sorghums of India are related to those of northeastern Africa and the coast between Cape Guardafui the autonomous Puntland region in Somalia and Mozambique.

More than 95% of total food use of sorghum occurs in countries of Africa and Asia. In Africa, human consumption accounts for almost 3/4 of the total calorie intake. Cooking and eating sorghum is popular in countries where the climate does not allow the economic production of other cereals especially the countries bordering the southern fringes of the Sahara, including Ethiopia and Somalia.

Sorghum is traditionally a major ingredient in home-brewed beer, the growing demand for which has created a commercial industry in some countries such as Zamia and Malawi. A temporary ban on barley imports in Nigeria during the late 1980s and the early 1990s encouraged the development of a market for sorghum based beer.

About one third of the world’s millet is grown in Africa and Asia, roughly 70% of it in West Africa alone. Chief Millet farming countries in Africa are Nigeria, Niger, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritius and Senegal in the west, and Sudan and Uganda in the east. Six countries, China, Ethiopia, India, the Niger, Nigeria, and the former Soviet Union are estimated to account for about 80% of global millet use.

Minor millets are grains less known than sorgham and peral millet as they are not widely usedfor cooking or planting. They include finger millet, foxtail millet, kodo millet, common millet , little millet and sawa millet. Minor millets account for less than 1%t of the foodgrains produced in the world today. Thus they are not important in terms of world food production, but they are essential as food crops in the areas where they grow.

Other names for millet throughout Africa are in Kenya mwere, Namibia mahangu, Nigeria gero and emeye, Southern Africa babala, manna, leotsa, nyalothi, inyouti, mhuga, mhungu, amabele, unyaluthi, unyawoti, and unyawothi, Sudan duhun, Tanzania mawele and uwele and Zambia mpyoli. About 1/3 of the world’s millet plants are grown in Africa and Asia, roughly 70% of it in West Africa alone.

Millet is a healthy grain and important crops in Africa for many food recipes. Here are moreAfrican Food Recipes.

Uji or Kenyan Cereal Porridge
Sorghum Cereal Porridge

How to make Sorghum Cereal Porridge.


1 cup cornmeal

1 cup sorghum

3 cups of water

2 tablespoons butter


Add all ingredients to a medium pot stir well and simmer on low 30 minutes. Serve warm with a lot of butter. Add sugar as needed.

Millets are important crops in Africa.
Cooking dinner in West Africa

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