Millets are generally small-seeded cereal crops and are known for their high nutritional value. There are millet varieties worldwide with different colors such as pale yellow, white, gray, and red. They are superior, in terms of nutritional property, to some highly consumed cereals such as rice and wheat. Inclination of interest in reviving millet consumption across different countries favors this market's growth prospects in the last few years. 

There are different varieties of millet such as;

Pearl Millet: known as Pennisetum glaucum; the most widely grown millet and an important crop in India and parts of Africa mostly in the northern part of Nigeria.

It is drought tolerant, and grows well in soil with low fertility, high salinity or low pH and high temperature. It comes in a gold-coloured, yellow, and white colour.

Finger Millet: has a botanical name of Eleusine coracana, and has a brown-red colour, often times referred to as “red millet”. Like pearl millet it is also predominantly grown in the arid areas of Africa and Asia and is an annual plant.

Proso Millet: is referred to as Panicum miliaceum, it adapts well in poor soil and climatic conditions, like others, it is an annual grass, has a short growing season but needs very little water.

It comes in cream, yellow, orange-red, or brown colours. This type of millet is not cultivated in Africa, it is primarily grown for livestock feed or as a bird seed in the United States, and is quite different from pearl millet, foxtail millet, finger millet, or the barnyard millets.

Foxtail Millet: has a botanical name of Setaria italica, and has recorded to have the longest history of cultivation among other millet, the seed colour varieties from grey to white etc., according to the species.

There are several initiatives to improve the cultivation and consumption of millet to reduce the health risks caused by diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular diseases. Millets play an important role in many countries in Africa and Asia as regards food security and economy. Because of their gluten-free and hypoglycemic properties, they are gaining popularity in Europe and North America.

The global millet seeds market size is predicted to garner $551,469.70 thousand in the 2021–2028 timeframe, growing from $350,000.00 thousand in 2020, at a healthy compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of six percent (6%). 

The growing inclination of the urban population towards healthy food coupled with the increasing unsustainable rice and wheat production will drive millets product demand during the forecast period. Opting towards keeping healthy meals to boost immunity, people shifted from having junk foods to eating notorious rich superfoods like millets and derivatives. The rise in consumers demands towards having millets as a healthy option is expected to rise during the forecast period

The transformation in the lifestyle of the consumers has made them more inclined towards healthy food, which is one of the leading causes for the demand for organic millet globally. Organic millets contain a high level of protein and minerals, which helps avoid diseases such as cardiovascular problems, diabetes, and obesity.

Product Type

1. Organic
2. Regular

By Application 

1. Infant Food
2. Bakery Product
3. Breakfasts
4. Beverages
5. Fodder
6. Others

Nigeria is the 3rd largest millet producing country in the world after India and China, and the leading producer in Africa followed Niger and Mali. The areas of production in Nigeria are; Kaduna, Yobe, Kano and Borno states.

To cultivate millet, clear the soil of grasses and trees you van use plough to loosen the soil if it is a large commercial millet farming. But for subsistence millet farming you can use spade to loosen the soil. Make ridges if that’s what you but millet can be planted on a level ground. 

Although millet can grow in a non fertile soil but will rather perform excellently well when the soil is highly fertile with good moisture. Use a well-drained sandy loam soil rich in organic matter. Mix the soil up with manure it could be animal dung or compost to enrich the land for planting.

Millet can be propagated either by drilling method or dibbling method. For dibbling three point five (3.5) kilogramme is needed for a hectare while five (5) kilogramme is needed for drilling. Planting should be done in late July. Spacing is forty and forty-five (40-45) cm within rows and ten to fifteen (10-15) cm within rows. All the same spacing depends on the variety you are choosing to cultivate.

Chose the variety that is suitable to your locality, soil and climate. Because these factors will affect the density of millet your farm can support. The depth should be between one to three (1-3) cm into the soil. Millet germination varies but will sprout within two (2) weeks.

For those using it for fodder, animals gain weight faster with millet when compared with other grains like sorghum. It has better hay on silage. Ornamental millet example Foxtail millet Highlander, purple majesty. They are ideal for small gardens millet farming because of their attractive appearance.

Weeding should be done at the early stage. Millet is from the grass family as we know so it will not be right to allow other grasses in millet farm because they will be competing for the Same thing.

Stem borers and grasshoppers are the major pest. Another bigger pest are birds. The most commonest disease in millet farming is downy mildew. Treat them with fungicides. It is not advisable to use pesticides on the farm for fodder.

Millet cannot grow well where moisture is high. It will rot in a water log area. However, you have to irrigate your millet farm when the soil is dry. For large-scale commercial millet farming use drip irrigation.

The use of organic manure all through millet farming is ideal but inorganic manure can also be use if that’s your choice. Use NPK 30:15:15. Nitrogen should be higher than other nutrients in millet farming. Apply the fertilizer in split doses.

When the grains becomes hard with moisture you can harvest them. It should be done on time in other not to allow birds destroy the crops. Birds can attack them immediately after attaining maturity. You can cut the whole plant stand or only the ear head. Dry them under the sun for five to seven (5-7) days before hauling them.
Millet matures between sixty to seventy (60-70) days and can reach ninety (90) days depending on the variety.

The yield depends on variety, hybrid can be more than four (4) times double that of traditional seeds. In 2022, the production of millet in Nigeria was estimated to be two million (2,000,000) metric tons. 

Nigeria has comparative advantage in the cultivation of millet, create employment and earn scare foreign exchange.