Today, sorghum and millet are two of the most basic foods for the poor and rural people in the dry regions that are poor in terms of other grains. When the production regions of these products are reviewed, it is seen that Africa, Central America and South Asia are at the front. Used in various fields such as human food, feed and biofuel; these products are an important food source for the African countries that are especially poor in terms of other grain products.
Sorghum is a feed crop of poaceae ( Gramineae) family which can reach up to 3 meters in height. It is heat and drought-tolerant plant and also it is not picky about soil type. It is resistant to salty and alkali soil. This plant has high photosynthesis efficiency and can be cultivated in every climate condition. It does not need excessive irrigation and fertilization.
Today this crop is used as feed in general terms and it is produced in high amount in drought and dry places of Africa especially where grain production is insufficient or not seen and it is used mainly in human nutrition. One of the species, Sorghum bicolor, is an important world crop, used for food (as grain and in sorghum syrup or “sorghum molasses”), fodder, the production of alcoholic beverages, as well as biofuels. Species are native to tropical and subtropical regions of all continents in addition to the South West Pacific and Australasia.
Some scientists believe that climate changing will make sorghum a much more valuable product in the future because sorghum is preferred instead of corn in arid places. In another word, it can be an alternative to corn. Consequently, decreasing in underground water amount will not enable corn cultivation in some places due to global warming. However, sorghum will be one of the cultivated products in such areas as it does not need much water.
In some parts of Turkey, millet is another name for corn and so most of the time millet is mistaken for corn. However millet is cultivated around the world for food and feed; it has smaller seeds than corn; it is a really different cereal in comparison to corn in terms of appearance of its plant. Flowers of all millet species stand upright and inclined in shape of dense or sparse bunches. Thus,its seeds do not form a regular sequence around the rachis as it is in wheat or barley. Efficiency and nutrition of millet seeds are much lower than most of the other grains.
Millet has many different prominent species and varieties in different parts of the world. Common point of all millet species is that they are grown in difficult production environments such as those at risk of drought. Various millet species had been staple food for people in Africa and Asia for 4000 years and in Europe until the end of Middle Age. Although millet is cultivated as feed plant in Turkey, Western Europe and USA, it still has importance as human nutrient in dry and drought countries in Africa and Asia. Number of its species is around 300.
Liking sandy soil and being drought-tolerant, millet is summer crop which is cultivated in spring. It is warm climate plant which does not need rainfall and can be cultivated even in most arid lands. For instance, pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum) which has expanded to around Sahara Dessert as it is drought-tolerant is one of the most important agricultural plants in Africa and India. Mainly, it is indigenous to tropical climate but it is also well-adapted to various climates. It is not affected by heavy rainfall. Proso millet and foxtail millet do not like moisture much. Millet seeds sprout in 8-120 degree. Millet is drought-tolerant however its growth decelerates due to drought. After drought, it continues to grow fast.
Another important feature of millet is that it can be stored longer than other grains. Finger millet (Eleusine coracana) cultivated in Africa and India can be stored for 8 years without deterioration in jerry-built grain storages of native people. This is an important source for countries that cannot make production for years due to drought. Sorghum is also a kind of millet. For the countries that cannot make production for years due to drought, this is a vital source. Indeed, sorghum is also a type of millet. However, total production amount in the world made sorghum seem like a separate product.
WORLD SORGHUM PRODUCTION AND CONSUMPTION
Sorghum has been cultivated for 5000 years and is the fifth most important cereal crop grown in the world. Sorghum, consumed instead of wheat and other cereals in terms of intended use in Africa and some Far East countries, is widely used as animal feed in United States, South America and European countries. A type of bread which is made by milled sorghum seed stand as one of the most widespread utilizations in human nutrition. Seeds of sorghum can be widely used as animal feed as well as human nutrition. Sorghum seed is crumbled and used as cellulose (fiber) source for animals. In addition, plant stem and leaves are used also as fodder and silage for animal nutrition as long as they are chopped as green. In some places, sorghum stem is considered as building materials or energy source.
Global harvest area for sorghum changes between 38 and 44 million hectares according to the data of United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization FAO showing the years between 2003 and 2013. Regarding the harvest area, 2012 harvest which is on 38 million hectares is the lowest of the last 10 years. Global sorghum harvest area reached to 46.3 million hectares in 2005. This area became the highest rate in the last 10 years. Also in 2013, sorghum harvest area was around 42.2 million hectares.
Africa becomes prominent in sorghum production. According to the data of FAO, global sorghum production was 62.2 million tons in 2013 and 25.6 million tons of this (41.1 percent) was realized by Africa. America follows Africa in the same year with 23.5 million tons. Asia is ranked third continent with its sorghum production of 9.5 million tons.
America, Nigeria, Mexico, India, Sudan, Ethiopia and Argentina are the most important production regions. Averagely 4-5 million tons of sorghum is produced yearly in each of these countries. Announcing the sorghum amount in the whole world is between 55 and 60 million tons, U.S. Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service USDA states the world sorghum production, which was 57.2 million tons in 2009/10 season, reached to 61.1 million tons in 2010/11 season. Declining to 57 million tons in 2011/12 and 2012/13 seasons, world sorghum production reached to 60.4 million tons in 2013/14 season. USDA announcing that global sorghum production is 64.5 million tons estimates that global sorghum production will reached to 65.3 million tons in 2015/16 season.
According to the data of 2014/15 season; world’s largest sorghum producer is U.S. with 10.9 million tons. Ranking first in world sorghum production with 6,4 million tons in 2011/12 season, Mexico dropped to second place after U.S. with 8.5 million tons in 2013/14 season and with 7,3 million tons in 2014/15 season. Nigeria, Sudan, India, Argentina and Ethiopia follow U.S. and Mexico in world sorghum production. Nigeria realized 6.7 million tons of sorghum production, Sudan realized 6.2 million tons, India realized 5 million tons, Argentina and Ethiopia realized 4 million tons in 2014/15 season. Total sorghum production of these 7 countries represented 68.5 % of world sorghum production in 2014/15 season.
Sorghum can be used in different parts of the world for various purposes such as the production of food, feed, biofuel and alcoholic beverages. Mexico and China rank first among world’s largest sorghum consumer countries. Mexico, being the number one in global sorghum consumption in 2013/14 season, was replaced by China in 2014/15 season. According to the data of USDA, China ranks first in global sorghum consumption in 2014/15 season with its production amount of 11.1 million tons. Consumption amount of China which is 1.9 million tons in 2009/10 season reached to 3.2 in 2012/13 season and to 6.8 million tons in 2013/14 season. Increasing its sorghum consumption in the last 5 seasons, China became number one among sorghum consumer countries in 2014/15 season.
Mexico which had been number one sorghum consumer until the last season increased its sorghum consumption which is 9.7 million tons in 2009/10 season to 8.1 million tons in 2011/12 and to 7.5 million tons in 2014/15 season; so Mexico fell back and become second. Nigeria, Sudan, India, Ethiopia and Argentina follow China and Mexico in world sorghum consumption. According to the USDA data; Nigeria realized 6.6 million tons of sorghum consumption, Sudan realized 6 million tons, India realized 4.9 million tons, Ethiopia realized 4.1 million tons and Argentina realized 2.9 million tons in 2014/15 season.
WORLD MILLET PRODUCTION AND CONSUMPTION
Today millet is an important grain product for the developing countries in Asia and Africa with semi-arid tropical climate. Millet flour is used to make bread and also to make alcohol and boza after fermented. It is used as feed for birds and is one of the most important food stuff in North African countries. In these regions millet seeds are consumed as mash or flatbread after boiled or milled. In addition, stems and seeds of all kinds of millets are used as animal feed.
According to the data of FAO showing 2003 and 2013, global harvest area for millet changes between 29 and 38 million hectares. Millet harvest area which is 37.6 million hectare in 2003 could not reach this level again in the following 10 years. Harvest area which decreased to 29.6 million hectares in 2012 increased to 33.1 again in 2013.
Africa is prominent in sorghum as it is in global millet production. According to the data of FAO, world millet production is 29.8 million tons in 2013 and 15 million tons of it (50.3 percent) was realized by Africa. Asia follows Africa in the same year with 13.7 million tons. Other continents have share between 40 thousand and 700 thousand. In another words, 96.3 percent of world millet production is realized by Africa and Asia.
According to USDA which announced that world millet production amount in the last 5 years is between 26 and 33 million tons, world millet production, which was 32.5 million tons in 2010/11 season, declined to 27.4 million tons in 2011/12 season and reached to 30.4 million tons with an increase of approximately 3 million tons in 2012/13 season. USDA projects that world millet production, which decreased to 29 million tons in 2013/14 season, will reach to 30.3 million tons level again in 2014/15 season.
According to the estimates of FAO for 2013 and USDA for 2015, the most important producers are India, Nigeria, Niger, China, Mali, Sudan and Burkina Faso. Solely India realizes most of the millet production with its production amount over 10 million tons. Annual millet production amount of the other countries changes between 1 and 5 million tons. Ranking second after India, Nigeria realized 4.8 million tons of millet production in 2014/15 season; while Niger realized 3.2 million tons of production.
World’s largest consumption in millet used mostly as human food and feed is India that also ranks first in the production. India’s millet consumption is slightly higher than the production. Despite the 10 million-ton production, 10.2 million tons of millet consumption was realized in 2014/15 season. Nigeria, Niger, China, Mali and Sudan follow India in millet consumption. Nigeria realized 5 million tons of millet consumption, Niger realized 2.9 million tons, Mali realized 1.2 million tons and Sudan realized 1 million tons in 2014/15 season.
WORLD SORGHUM AND MILLET TRADE
According to the USDA data; the sorghum amount subjected to the world trade in 2014/15 season was 11.8 million tons. Ranking first in world sorghum export, U.S. realized 9 million tons of 11.8 million-ton export by itself. Argentina with 1.5 million tons, Australia with 800 thousand tons, Ukraine with 150 thousand tons and Nigeria with 100 thousand tons followed U.S. in world sorghum export.
China ranks first in the imports. China realized 8.5 million tons of 11.8 million-ton world sorghum import in 2014/15 season by itself. Japan follows China in sorghum import with 1 million ton. Columbia, EU, Kenya and Mexico with 100 thousand tons followed China in world sorghum import.
Millet is a product generally consumed in the region where it is produced. Thus, the millet amount subjected to the world trade is significantly low. USDA doesn’t have open data for world millet trade. In the world millet trade announced by UN Food and Agriculture Organization FAO with formal, semi-formal and forecast data, import and export amounts are not equivalent. FAO’s the most current data belongs to the year 2012. While the export was 388 thousand tons, the import was 379 thousand tons in 2012. It is an important factor in this difference that the data cannot be obtained in a healthy way.
According to the data of FAO, India ranks first in world millet export. Russia with 85 thousand tons, Ukraine with 49 thousand tons and U.S. with 41 thousand tons followed India that exported 109 thousand tons of millet in 2012. Niger ranks first in imports. Belgium with 26 thousand tons, Nepal with 20 thousand tons and Germany with 19 thousand tons follow Niger that imports 38 thousand tons of millet in 2013.
SORGHUM AND MILLET PRODUCTION IN TURKEY
Sorghum, which is not known well in Turkey, is produced mostly for feed and the production amounts are significantly low. According to the production amount compiled by Turkish Statistical Institute since 2004; Turkey realizes sorghum production between 100 and 400 tons every year. Sorghum production of Turkey which was 361 tons in 2013 was realized as 81 tons in 2014.
Compared to sorghum, millet production is more common in Turkey. The most important millet species cultivated in Turkey are vulgare, proso millet and pearl millet. According to the data of TUIK; millet cultivation land, which was 35 thousand decares in 2001, reached to 40 thousand decares as the highest level in the last 10 years in 2003. However; declining in the following years, millet cultivation land decreased to 25 thousand decares in 2013. It showed an increase in 2014 and reached to 26.6 thousand decares.
The decline in the cultivation land also reflected on the production. According to TUIK data; Turkey’s millet production, which was 6 thousand 700 tons in 2001, remained above 7 thousand tons until 2006 and declined to 6 thousand 900 tons in 2006. Increasing over 7 thousand tons, production decreased to 4 thousand 759 tons in 2012. TUIK announced the millet amount realized in 2013 around as 5 thousand 906 tons and the production realized in 2014 reached to 6,744 tons after an increase in cultivation lands.
SORGHUM AND MILLET TRADE IN TURKEY
Turkey does scarcely any sorghum trade. Although there is no export data, import amount changes between 100 and 300 tons by years.
As it is in sorghum, there is no data for millet export. millet import amount is much higher than sorghum import amount. According to the data of TUIK, millet import amount of Turkey which is around 2 thousand tons in 2010 reached to 10.4 thousand tons in 2011 and 11.1 thousand tons in 2012. Import amount decreased to around 2 thousand tons in 2013-14 season again and was realized as 2.8 and 2.9 relatively.