Millets are a group of highly variable small-seeded grasses, widely grown around the world as cereal crops or grains for fodder and human food. Millets are important crops in the semiarid tropics of Asia and Africa (especially in India, Mali, Nigeria, and Niger), with 97% of millet production in developing countries. The crop is favored due to its productivity and short growing season under dry, high-temperature conditions.
Millets are indigenous to many parts of the world. The most widely grown millet is pearl millet, which is an important crop in India and parts of Africa. Finger millet, proso millet, and foxtail millet are also important crop species.
Millets have been important food staples in human history, particularly in Asia and Africa. They have been in cultivation in East Asia for the last 10,000 years.
Consumption of the minor millets has been practiced since the beginning of the ancient civilizations of the world. Generally, the millets are small-grained, annual, warm-weather cereals belonging to grass family. They are highly tolerant of extreme weather conditions such as drought and are similarly nutritious among major cereals, such as rice and wheat.