The FAO will spend the year raising awareness about the crop and promote sustainable production
By Diego Flammini
Millets will have time in the international spotlight in 2023.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) declared this year as the International Year of Millets.
“Millets can grow on arid lands with minimal inputs and are resilient to changes in climate,” the FAO’s website says. “They are therefore an ideal solution for countries to increase self-sufficiency and reduce reliance on imported cereal grains.”
Millets can be used as livestock feed, to make alcohol, bread, beer, cereal and other items.
Three U.S. states produce most of the millet in the country.
Colorado, Nebraska and South Dakota accounted for about 80 percent of total U.S. millet production in 2021, USDA data shows.
Of those states, Colorado produces about 61 percent of U.S. millets. In 2021, Colorado farmers harvested 420,000 acres of millets.
In 2021, the average U.S. millet yield was 23.2 bushels per acre.
On Dec. 31, 2021, the price per bushel of millet was $8.77. That was down from $11.20 on Dec. 21, 2020.
India produces the most millet of any country.
In 2022, Indian farmers produced 12 million metric tons of millet, which represented about 39 percent of global millet.
The countries of Niger, China, Nigeria and Mali also produce significant amounts of millet.
The FAO has dedicated a calendar year to the promotion of a food product since 2004 – the International Year of Rice.
The FAO decided in March 2021 that millets would be the focus of 2023.
Farmers interested in growing millet can learn about successful practices from a Northern Grain Growers Association information sheet.
Growers can also follow the International Year of Millets on social media using the hashtag #IYM2023.