The dryland cereals make an important contribution to rural economies in the developing world. Taken together, the farm gate value of sorghum, pearl millet, barley and finger millet in Low-Income Food-Deficit Countries (LIFDCs) is US$ 27.3 billion, which exceeds maize ($21 billion) and is similar to wheat. This money represents investment by the marketplace in the rural areas and agro-enterprises that produce and market these crops. This contribution will continue to grow strongly; IFPRI’s IMPACT model estimates that the aggregate demand for these crops will surge during 2000-2020 in LIFDCs – sorghum by 48%, barley by 44% and pearl millet by 39%.
Demand is rising largely because of three drivers:
- Population growth in dryland areas – grain consumed by humans accounts for about 40% of total crop farm-gate value;
- Growing demand for dryland feed and fodder to service strongly-growing demand for meat and dairy products in urban areas and worldwide, accounting for about 50% of total crop farm-gate value; and
- Growing interest in the use of dryland crops for specialty products and industrial uses such as malting and convenience foods (about 10% of total crop farm-gate value).
Dryland Cereals projects that its innovations will increase production by at least 16% over ten years, worth $2.7 billion. These food, feed and financial benefits will flow to about 34 million people who live and work on 5.8 million smallholder farms in the developing world.