Lost small millets, nearly.
Bromus mango E. Desv.
Digitaria sanguinalis (L.) Scop.
Panicum sonorum Beal.
Brachiaria deflexa (Schumach) C.E. Hubbard
Brachiaria ramosa (L.) Stapf.
Digitaria cruciata (Nees) A. Camus
Digitaria exilis (Kippist) Stapf.
Echinochloa frumentacea Link
Echinochloa utilis Ohwi et Yabuno
Eleusine coracana Gaertn.
Eragrostis abyssinica Schr.
Panicum miliaceum L.
Panicum sumatrense Roth.
Paspalum scrobiculatum L.
Setaria pumila (Poir.) Roem. & Schult. (syn. S. glauca (L.) P. Beauv.)
Setaria italica (L.) P. Beauv.
Coix lacryma-jobi L. var. ma-yuen (Roman.) Stapf.
Pennisetum americanum (L.) Leeke
Sorghum bicolor Moench
Fagopyrum esculentum Moench.
”ESmall millets with big potential: (Summarized from Dr. K. Riley, 1988)
Small millets are generally grown in traditional agricultural systems,with low inputs and low productivity. There is a trend to replace millets with more productive crops such as wheat, maize or rice in more intensive systems. For exsample, in Sri Lanka, the finger millet area which was associated with slash and burn agriculture, has decreased as traditional agricultural methods are replaced by more settled systems. Similarly, in Bangladesh the increased area now devoted to wheat and rice has resulted in a decrease in millet area. There are several othercountries where an increase in the major cereals has resulted in a decrease in the small millet acreage. We must recognize that there are situations in which major cereals do have an advantage and should be encouraged. Nevertheless, there are many unique traits possessed by thedifferent millet species, which should make millets an important component of improved agricultural systems.
Unique traits of millets:
1. Millets are generally fast maturing, which should enable them to fit into more intensive cropping systems. A fast maturing millet could be used as a catch or relay crop in association with other, slower maturing crops.
2. The name millet comes from the word mil or thousand, referring to the large number of grains that can be grown from a single seed. Rapid multiplication of seed is generally a relatively simple matter and seed costs are low. The small seeds of millets generally store well for long periods, ensuring a continued food supply during dry season or when there is a crop failure.
3. The small millet seeds often require less cooking or preparation time. This can be an increasingly important factor when women become involved in more productive farming systems and have less time to devote to food preparation.””
4. There are a large number of ways of processing millets in traditional and novel preparations. This can be a factor in increasing the market demand for millets.
5. There are many difficult or marginal situations in which specific millets species perform well. Teff, for example is tolerant of water-logged and acid soils. Proso millet can tolerate both drought and saline soil conditions. Foxtail millet possesses adaptation to low fertility soils. Because many millets are fast maturing, they can produce a crop quickly and escape the onset of stress conditions such as drought.
6. Many varieties of millets have excellent nutritional properties, containing high levels of essential minerals such as Iron and Calcium. Finger millet is especially known for its characteristic of providing energy for a long time after it is consumed. This is an important trait for people who have jobs that require hard manual work.
7. Millets are not necessarily low yielding crops. Grain yields of finger millet in field conditions in India and Uganda frequently exceed six tons per hectare, and foxtail millet can produce similar yields in China. The lower yields of small milletss compared with yields of major cereals may be due to selection by farmers, over thousands of years, for tolerance to difficult conditions rather than for high grain yield per se.
8. Millets are generally highly valued for their fodder. As indicated in the 1986 Workshop, a new Indian variety of foxtail millet, called SIA 326, is proving to be extremely popular with the farmers in Andhra Pradesh. In addition to its high grain yield, This variety has straw which is highly palatable as livestock feed. The economic value of foxtail millet straw to these farmers, is almost equal to the value of the grain. Recent work at the Dryland Agricultural Centre in Bangalore has found that little millet and barnyard millet produced more forage yield per day under dry conditions compared to any other forage crops tested.
9. We are painfully aware that agriculture is still vulnerable to crop failure, often due to flooding or drought, or due to mismanagement of soil and water resources. Although millets cannot prevent these catastrophes, millets are known as famine crops, that can ensure a quick food crop when other crops have failed. In Bangladesh, for example, the millet area this year is expected to substantially increase, following the worst flooding in perhaps 100 years.
10. In mountain, or hill areas of Nepal the millet area is increasing, from 123,000 ha in 1983 to 151,000 ha in 1985. Recent estimates place the area planted at 235,000 ha. Land races of finger millet in Nepal are adapted to the extreme variation and harsh conditions in mountain regions. The above examples indicate that millets have an important role to play as a component of more sustainable and productive agricultural technology.