The United Nations declared 2023 as the International Year of Millets. The Government of India has made the export of millets and value-added millet products a cornerstone of their future food security strategy. So what makes these small-seeded grains so special? And why should you start caring about them? 

Millet Facts

  1. Millets are a group of small-seeded grains grown throughout Asia & Africa for centuries

  2. There are 10+ varieties millets including sorghum, proso millet, pearl millet, finger millet, foxtail millet, barnyard millet, little millet and more

  3. Typically grown in dry, arid, desert like conditions due to their ability to survive high temperatures and drought-like conditions --> They even grow better the hotter it is!! 

  4. Capable of surviving in temperatures up to 122F, while common grains such as wheat, rice and corn cannot grow in temperatures exceeding 100F!! 

  5. Able to withstand prolonged periods of water stress due to their deep roots and ability to retain small amounts of water

  6. Require ~3.5-4x less water than rice to grow!! 

  7. Do not require pesticides or fertilizers to grow (i.e., naturally organic)!!

  8. Typically grown by smallholder farmers on <1 acre plots, across Northern India (e.g., Rajasthan, Gujarat)

  9. Naturally gluten free and a powerhouse of plant protein, prebiotic fiber, iron, zinc, potassium, magnesium and other essential vitamins & minerals

  10. Most importantly, millets are versatile & delicious, capable of being used in cakes, breads, salads and more!! 

Pearl Millet CollectionPearl millet growing in an open field.       Indian farmer in a field of pearl millet Picked stalks of pearl millet Field of pearl millet stalks