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Finger millet

Finger Millet (Eleusine coracana L.) is an annual grass (family Poaceae), also known as African millet or ragi.

It is widely grown in the arid areas of Africa and Asia. It is very adaptable to higher elevations and is grown in the Himalayas up to 2300 metres altitude.

Once harvested, the seeds keep extremely well and are seldomly attacked by insects or moulds. The long storage capacity makes finger millet an important crop in risk avoidance strategies for poorer farming communities. Finger millet is especially valuable as it contains the amino acid methionine, which is lacking in the diets of hundreds of millions of the poor who live on starchy staples such as cassava, plantain, polished rice or maize meal. Finger millet can be ground and cooked into cakes, puddings or porridge. The grain is made into a fermented drink (or beer) in many parts of Africa.

Finger millet straw is used as animal fodder.

Finger millet is often intercropped with legumes such as peanuts, cowpeas[?] (Vigna sinensis), pigeon peas (Cajanus cajan) or niger peas[?] (Guizotia abyssinnica).

Although statistics on individual millet species are confused, and are sometimes combined with sorghum, it is estimated that finger millet is grown on approximately 3.8 million hectares.

Improvements to finger millet are carried out by ICRISAT[?], http://www.ircrisat.org.

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