Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) as well as these crops beginning to be developed by many of the larger agricultural corporates as their interest in these developing world regions expands. However, there is an enormous mountain still to climb before these crops have received similar attention as C3 crops such as wheat, rice and soya for instance. Traditional crop grains such as sorghum and millet have been ground for centuries but more often than not with a crude mortar and pestle fashioned from a tree stump and branch or by using flat stones or rubbing stones. All these types of grinding systems are still in common use in many parts of the developing world today. Newer milling technologies have been introduced in more recent centuries and in the mid-nineteenth century, electric motors were invented. However this advance towards hammer and plate milling passed large areas of the developing world by, due to the lack of electricity and instead diesel engines and lower speed driven mills were installed but even their use was limited by the availability of fuel and spare parts. This dearth of electricity particularly in sub-Saharan areas is now starting to be tackled and considerable prizes can be won by the milling industry as electrical power is installed in greater capacity across these areas and higher speed machines can be used in a greater number of regions. It is perhaps worth noting that in a continent I know well today some 645 million Africans have no direct access to electricity. Per capita power consumption in sub-Saharan Africa is a paltry 181 kWh as compared to 6,500 in the UK and 13,000 in the US 90 percent of African primary schools have no electricity and as this electrical supply situation changes the opportunities for millers will escalate in magnitude.
Table 1: Nutrient Content of Various Millets with comparison to Rice and Wheat Crop / Nutrient Protein(g) Fibre(g) Minerals(g) Iron(mg) Calcium(mg) Pearl millet
Also in terms of human health and nutrition the need for high digestibility meal for human or animal consumption has also never been greater. Palatability and the need to expose the starch in the grain accordingly plus the need for nutritional additives is also crucial. Also avoiding the respiratory problems when fed dry or over-milled flour is important. I will now briefly describe a couple of currently underutilised C4 grain crops worthy of much greater investment and this in reality can only come from demand pull by the milling industry together with the benefits of these grains, both environmental and nutritional, being extolled to your consumers. Without this change generated from within the industry then modern agriculture will become ever more concentrated on a small number of varieties designed for intensive farming and this is ultimately bad for developing country grain farmers, their consumers and the milling industry that supplies them. Also, given the less mature state of development of agriculture in developing countries the door is still open to avoid the
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