World Sorghum and Millet Market

13 September 201612 min reading

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.

urunkapakSorghum is a feed crop of poaceae 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.

U.S. Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service USDA states the world sorghum production, which was 57.6 million tons in 2012/13 season, reached to 60,9 million tons in 2013/14 season, 65 million tons in 2014/15 season. Declining to 59,9 million tons in 2015/16, world sorghum production is forecasted to reach to 65,2 million tons in 2016/17 season.

According to the data of 2015/16 season; world’s largest sorghum producer is U.S. with 15,1 million tons. Nigeria ranks second in world sorghum production with 6,1 million tons. Mexico also ranks third after Nigeria with its production amount of 5,5 million tons in 2015/16 season. India, Argentina, China, Ethiopia and Sudan follow U.S., Nigeria and Mexico in world sorghum production. In 2015/16 season, India produced 4,6 million tons, Argentina produced 3,3 million tons, China produced 3 million tons, Ethiopia produced 2,6 million tons and Sudan produced 2,3 million tons of sorghum.

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. China, being the number one in global sorghum consumption in 2014/15 season, remained as the leader in 2015/16 season too. According to the data of USDA, China ranks first in global sorghum consumption in 2014/15 season with its production amount of 10,3 million tons and Mexico ranks second with its production amount of 6,2 million tons. Consumption amount of China which is 3,2 million tons in 2012/13 season reached to 6,8 in 2013/14 season and to 12,9 million tons in 2014/15 season. Increasing its sorghum consumption in the last 5 seasons, China became number one among sorghum consumer countries in 2015/16 season.

Mexico which had been number one sorghum consumer until 2014/15 season increased its sorghum consumption which is 8,1 million tons in 2012/13 season to 8,3 million tons in 2013/14 and decreased to 6,6 million tons in 2014/15 season; so Mexico fell back and become second. USA, Nigeria, India, Sudan, Ethiopia and Argentina follow China and Mexico in world sorghum consumption. According to the USDA data; USA realized 6 million tons of sorghum consumption, Nigeria realized 6 million tons, India realized 5 million tons, Sudan realized 3,1 million tons, Ethiopia realized 2,9 million tons and Argentina realized 2,8 million tons in 2015/16 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 USDA which announced that world millet production amount in the last 5 years is between 29 and 30 million tons, world millet production, which was 30 million tons in 2012/13 season, declined to 29 million tons in 2013/14 season and reached to 30,7 million tons in 2014/15 season. USDA projects that world millet production, which decreased to 29 million tons in 2015/16 season, will reach to 30,5 million tons level again in 2016/17 season.

According to the estimates of USDA for 2015, the most important producers are India, Nigeria, Niger, Mali, China, Burkina Faso and Senegal. 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 2015/16 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 10,5 million-ton production, 10,8 million tons of millet consumption was realized in 2015/16 season. Nigeria, Niger, Mali, China, Burkina Faso and Senegal follow India in millet consumption. Nigeria realized 4,8 million tons of millet consumption, Niger realized 3,2 million tons, Mali realized 2 million tons, China realized 1 million tons, Burkina Faso realized 988 thousand tons and Senegal realized around 749 thousand tons in 2015/16 season.

WORLD SORGHUM AND MILLET TRADE According to the USDA data; the sorghum amount subjected to the world trade in 2015/16 season was 10,5 million tons. Ranking first in world sorghum export, U.S. realized 8,2 million tons of 10,5 million-ton export by itself. Argentina with 1 million tons, Ukraine with 900 thousand tons, India with 130 thousand tons followed U.S. in world sorghum export.

China ranks first in the imports. China realized 87,2 million tons of 10,5 million-ton world sorghum import in 2015/16 season by itself. Japan follows China in sorghum import with 780 thousand tons. Mexico with 700 thousand tons, Sudan with 300 thousand tons, Chile and Ethiopia with 150 thousand tons, EU countries with 120 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 2013. While the export was 388 thousand tons, the import was 348 thousand tons in 2013. 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. EU countries with 57 thousand tons, Ukraine with 40 thousand tons, Russia with 39 thousand tons followed India that exported around 82 thousand tons of millet in 2013. EU countries also rank first in imports. Yemen with 22 thousand tons, USA with 20 thousand tons and Tanzania with 19 thousand tons follows EU countries that imports 106 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. This amount decreased to 4 tons in 2015.

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 39 thousand decares in 2004, reached to 29 thousand decares in 2010. 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. Cultivation area in 2015 was 26,9 thousand decares.

The decline in the cultivation land also reflected on the production. According to TUIK data; Turkey’s millet production, which was 7 thousand tons in 2001, remained around 6-7 thousand tons until 2011 and declined to 4 thousand 759 tons in 2012. Increasing over 5 thousand tons, production decreased to 6 thousand 744 tons in 2014 and recorded as 6 thousand 219 tons in 2015.

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. However, recorded import amount was 1,345 thousand tons in 2015. 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 seasons again and was realized as 2.8 and 2.9 relatively. Increasing again in 2015, the import amount was recorded as 6,2 thousand tons.

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