Millet History

Let’s make Millets part of our daily meal

Millet is the name given to a group of cereals other than wheat, rice, maize & barley. They are mostly tiny in size, round in shape & ready for usage as it is. It is acknowledged that during the Stone Age, the Millet plant was grown by the lake inhabitants of Switzerland. History reveals that since the Neolithic Era, millet, a prehistoric seed was cultivated in the dry climates of Africa and northern China. Interestingly it was millets and not rice that was a staple food in Indian, Chinese Neolithic and Korean civilizations.

The Millet Story

The origin of millet is diverse with varieties coming from both Africa and Asia. Pearl millet for example comes from tropical West Africa and finger millet from Uganda or neighboring areas. From African highlands, finger millet was taken to India about 3,000 years ago and to Europe at the beginning of the Christian era. Later, the crop was widely distributed both in many African countries as well as in the Indian subcontinent.

Features of the Millet plant

  • Millets are tall, vertical annual grasses similar to Maize.
  • They vary in appearance and size, depending on variety and grow in height from 1 to 15 feet. These plants usually have coarse stems and grow in opaque bunches with grass-like leaves. They are abundant and slim, measuring about an inch broad and can grow over 6 feet long.
  • The seeds are covered in colored hulls, with color depending on diversity.
  • Since millet is covered with an unusually hard to digest hull, it is necessary to hull it before it can be used. Hulling does not affect the nutrient value as the germ stays intact through this process. After hulling, millet grains appear as small yellow spheres.