Cover Image
close this bookBetter Farming Series 15 - Cereals (FAO - INADES, 1977, 51 p.)
close this folderSorghum and millet
close this folderMillet
View the document(introduction...)
Open this folder and view contentsHow to grow sorghum and millet


Millet is a tall cereal, more than 2 metres high.

Its stem has long leaves. At the top of the stem is the spike.

It is not like the spike of sorghum.

The spike contains the millet grains. They are smaller than sorghum grains. They are white or red in colour

· Millet grows in very dry regions north of the savanna. It even grows where the rainfall is only 300 millimetres a year.

Millet likes light, sandy and permeable soils.

Millet plant


Different names for millet are bulrush millet, pearl millet, Japanese millet, broomcorn millet.

· There are a great many varieties of millet. They have different names in different countries, for instance: in Senegal: Souna, Sanio; in northern Cameroon: Youri, Yadiri; in Chad: Dokone.

· The different kinds of millet are distinguished by the length of the spike.

· Varieties with a long spike

In Niger there is Rongo, with spikes that may be more than 2 metres long, and Somno, with spikes 80 centimetres long.

These varieties are usually late ones that ripen 120 to 150 days after sowing.

· Varieties with medium or cylindrical spikes

The length of the spike is about 40 centimetres.

They are harvested about 100 days after sowing.

· Varieties with short spikes

For instance, in Niger,
Batoutchani has spikes of 6 centimetres,

Boudouma, spikes of 10 to 20 centimetres.

These are usually early varieties.

They ripen 60 to 90 days after sowing.