The Full Wiki

Pearl millet: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Pearl millet
U.S. pearl millet hybrid for grain
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
(unranked): Commelinids
Order: Poales
Family: Poaceae
Subfamily: Panicoideae
Genus: Pennisetum
Species: P. glaucum
Binomial name
Pennisetum glaucum

Pennisetum americanum (L.) Leeke
Pennisetum typhoides (Burm. f.) Stapf & C. E. Hubb. Pennisetum typhoideum

Pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum) is the most widely grown type of millet. Grown in Africa and the Indian subcontinent since prehistoric times, it is generally accepted that pearl millet originated in Africa and was subsequently introduced into India. The earliest archaeological records in India date to 2000 BC, so domestication in Africa must have taken place earlier. Its origin has been traced to tropical Africa. The center of diversity for the crop is in the Sahel zone of West Africa. Cultivation subsequently spread to east and southern Africa, and southern Asia. Records exist for cultivation of pearl millet in the United States in the 1850's, and the crop was introduced into Brazil in the 1960's.

Pearl millet is well adapted to production systems characterized by drought, low soil fertility, and high temperature. It performs well in soils with high salinity or low pH. Because of its tolerance to difficult growing conditions, it can be grown in areas where other cereal crops, such as maize or wheat, would not survive.

Today pearl millet is grown on over 260,000 km² worldwide. It accounts for approximately 50% of the total world production of millets.[1]


Common names for pearl millet

  • In Africa: mahangu, sanio, gero, babala, nyoloti, dukkin, souna, petit mil, mexoeira (Mozambique), mashela (Tigrinya), mhunga (Shona, Zimbabwe)
  • In India: ಸಜ್ಜೆ (Sajje in Kannada); கம்பு (Kambu in Tamil); बाजरा (Bajra in Urdu,Punjabi and Hindi), बाजरी (Bajri in Marathi), సజ్జలు (Sajjalu in Telugu)
  • In Australia: bulrush millet
  • In Brazil: milheto
  • In the USA: cattail millet (Pennisetum americanum)
  • In Europe: candle millet, dark millet


Pearl millet around the world



India is the largest producer of pearl millet. It is primarily consumed in the states of Haryana, Gujarat and Rajasthan.


Pearl millet is an important food across the Sahel. It is the main staple in a large region of northern Nigeria, Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso. It is often ground into a flour, rolled into large balls, parboiled, and then consumed as a porridge with milk. Sometimes it is prepared as a beverage.


In Namibia, pearl millet is known as "mahangu" and is grown mainly in the north of that country, where it is the staple food. In the dry, unpredictable climate of this area it grows better than alternatives such as maize.

Mahangu is usually made into a porridge called "oshifima" (or "oshithima"), or fermented to make a drink called "ontaku" or "oshikundu".

Traditionally the mahangu is pounded with heavy pieces of wood in a 'pounding area'. The floor of the pounding area is covered with a cementlike coating made from the material of termite mounds. As a result, some sand and grit gets into the pounded mahangu, so products like oshifima are usually swallowed without chewing. [2] After pounding, winnowing may be used to remove the chaff.

Some industrial grain processing facilities now exist, such as those operated by Namib Mills. Efforts are also being made to develop smaller scale processing using food extrusion and other methods. In a food extruder, the mahangu is milled into a paste before being forced through metal die. Products made this way include breakfast cereals, including puffed grains and porridge, pasta shapes, and "rice".[3]

Recently more productive varieties of pearl millet have been introduced enabling farmers to increase production considerably.[4]


  1. ^ Millet. Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research.
  2. ^
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ Board on Science and Technology for International Development; Office of International Affairs, National Research Council (1996-02-14). "Pearl Millet: Subsistence Types". Lost Crops of Africa: Volume I: Grains. Lost Crops of Africa. 1. National Academies Press. p. 108. ISBN 978-0-309-04990-0. Retrieved 2007-11-07. 

External links


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address