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The Millet Market is projected to expand from USD 11.02 billion in 2023 to USD 13.80 billion by 2028, reflecting a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 4.60% during the forecast period (2023-2028).
Millet, encompassing varieties such as sorghum, finger millet, pearl millet, barnyard millet, proso millet, and little millet, is cultivated across diverse climates in dry, semi-arid, and sub-humid agricultural regions, encompassing over 32 million hectares worldwide. Notably, India, Niger, and China hold the top spots as the world’s largest millet producers, contributing to over 55.0% of global production. Remarkably, India takes the lead as the world’s primary millet producer. In recent years, African countries have witnessed a significant surge in millet production, attributed to their focus on dryland agriculture due to water scarcity and conducive sub-tropical climates that favor millet cultivation.
The substantial protein content inherent in millets positions them as a preferred choice for the vegetarian and vegan demographic, primarily concentrated in the United States, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific region. The ongoing pandemic has positively impacted the market, leading more individuals to incorporate millets and their derivatives into their diets, shifting from unhealthy foods to nutrient-rich options like millets to enhance immunity and overall well-being. Consequently, the demand for millet-based products has experienced notable growth in these regions, propelling the millet market forward.
India Commands Global Production
India, recognizing the nutritional significance of millets, actively promotes their cultivation. Designated as Nutri-Cereals by the Government of India due to their nutritional value, millets receive support from the Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare (DA&FW), which implements a sub-mission on nutri-cereals under the National Food Security Mission. This initiative aims to amplify millet area, production, and productivity.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), global millet production reached 28.33 million metric tons in 2019, rising to 30.08 million metric tons in 2021. Notably, India leads the global production, contributing a substantial 43.0% market share in 2021. The country cultivates sorghum (jowar), pearl millet (bajra), finger millet (ragi), and other minor millets. Data from the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare indicates that millet production in India surged from 14.52 million tonnes in 2015-16 to 17.96 million metric tons in 2020-21.
The increased domestic production has also contributed to enhanced millet exports. In 2021-22, India’s millet exports rose by 8% to reach 159,332.16 metric tons, up from 147,501.08 metric tons in the preceding year, fortifying local millet production. The government’s active promotion of millet exports, in alignment with the escalating global demand, is evident through initiatives such as the Agriculture and Processed products Export Development Authority (APEDA)’s plans to foster millet and millet product exports to various countries including the UAE, Indonesia, the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom, Germany, South Africa, Australia, Saudi Arabia, among others. This concerted effort is poised to drive the market’s growth in the foreseeable future.
Africa Leads Global Consumption
The African continent dominates the global millet production and consumption landscape, representing over 55% of the global output, followed by Asia with 40%. African nations such as Niger, Mali, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, and Sudan collectively account for more than 40.0% of worldwide millet consumption.
Millets are particularly popular in developing regions like India and Africa, where food and nutritional security remain significant challenges. Millets thrive in semi-arid African regions due to their high drought tolerance, offering enhanced productivity. Consequently, millet cultivation is being promoted as a viable solution to address climate change and food security concerns in these regions.
Notably, African governments have taken steps to bolster millet production and consumption, introducing policies such as community seed banks, seed fairs, and farmer networks. Investments, both public and private, are being directed towards millet seed development and production.
With its prices characterized by volatility, largely determined by supply volumes and independent of those of other major coarse grains, millet’s international prices remain distinct. Considering the escalating climate and food security challenges in Africa, the consumption and production of millets are expected to witness a considerable uptick, thereby propelling the millet market.
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