We can start off by defining what a cereal is. A cereal is a grass plant that is grown for purposes of consuming its typically small seed that can be eaten by animals and humans. Cereals are extremely important because of their nutritional value. They contain important nutrients such as protein, dietary fibre, vitamins, and carbohydrates just to mention a few. Roughly 2.5 billion tonnes of cereal are grown globally each year. Cereals account for 75 percent of all the grain grown in the world. Clearly cereals have a colossal dietary significance the world over. In this article we shall be discussing the different types of cereals.
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It is said that at least 50 percent of the global population depends solely on rice as their staple food. Asia is responsible for over 90 percent of the global production of rice. Rice is grown in over 100 countries in the world. This translates to over 700 million tonnes of rice grown every year. Rice is actually the third most grown grain crop in the world. China is at the apex growing over 150 million tonnes of it each year. The biggest producer of rice in Africa is Nigeria. It takes on average, 4 to 5 months for rice mature. Some of the key nutrients found in rice are protein, fat, carbohydrates, sodium, sugars, and fiber.
Maize is at the apex of grain production globally. Maize is also referred to as corn. Three of some of the main nutrients found in maize are starch, protein, and fat. Over 850 million metric tonnes of maize are now required to feed the whole world. Under normal circumstances over 1 billion tonnes of maize are produced annually. Global maize production is dominated by USA, China, Brazil, and Argentina. Save for China, the other 3 are also at the apex when it comes to maize exports globally. Their total combined production accounts for over 66 percent of all maize production worldwide. Did you know that in Africa it is South Africa that produces the most maize? Maize takes on average, 2 to 3 or so months to mature – depending on variety of course.
This year a total of almost 760 million tonnes of wheat is expected to be produced. This is just a tiny decrease from last year where just over 762 million tonnes were produced. Wheat is the second most grown grain crop in the world. The biggest producers of wheat globally are China, India, Russia, USA, and Canada. These 5 countries alone constitute roughly 65 percent of all wheat production. The two major nutrients found in wheat are carbohydrates and calories – a combined share of 75 percent of the total nutritional content of wheat. The other nutrients included are protein, fat, minerals, and vitamins. Wheat takes on average 7 or 8 months to reach maturity.
The top 4 global producers of barley are Russia, Germany, France, and Ukraine – in that order. Barley takes roughly 2 to 3 months to reach maturity. Around 140 million tonnes of barley are expected to be grown globally this farming season. Barley is extremely nutrient-rich with nutrients such as fiber, carbohydrates, and vitamins. It is also has what are termed essential nutrients e.g. copper, and niacin amongst several others. Actually it is said that barley has well over eighty nutrients in total. Barley stands at number 4 when it comes to the most grown grain crops in the world.
The top 5 global producers of sorghum are the US, India, Mexico, China, and Nigeria in that order. Interestingly though, over 9 tenths of sorghum production is found in Africa and Asia. It is forecasted that the 2020 to 2021 cropping season will see roughly 60 million tonnes of sorghum being grown worldwide. This will actually be a 4 percent increase from the previous cropping season. Sorghum is the 5th most grown grain crop in the world. Sorghum is mainly used in stock feed production though it can also be used as food. It is usually used as food in areas that are typically dry where other food crops cannot thrive. It might interest you to know that China is the biggest consumer of sorghum globally. Some of the key nutrients found in sorghum are carbohydrates, protein, fat, fiber, calories, vitamins and other essential nutrients. Generally there are long and short season varieties. The short season tend to take 3 to 4 months to reach maturity – usually the hybrid varieties.
On average, 25 million tonnes of millet are produced annually. The top 5 producers of millet in the world are India, Niger, China, Nigeria, and Mali in that order. Clearly millet is actively grown on the African continent – in fact, it is grown in 28 countries on the continent. Just like sorghum, millet is usually used as food in arid areas. Generally, millet is used for stock feed production and other human consumption-related uses. Millet has several health benefits due to its nutrition value. Some of the key nutrients found in millet are calories, protein, vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, and other essential nutrients. Millet matures quite fast; it takes 2 months or slightly over that to mature.
The top ten global producers of oats are Russia, Canada, Poland, Finland, Australia, USA, Spain, UK, Sweden, and Germany (in that order). It takes about 3 months for oats to reach maturity. Annually over 20 million tonnes of oats is produced. This makes oats the 6th placed most grown grain crop in the world. Oats contain calories, dietary fiber, fat, carbohydrates, and protein amongst other vital nutrients. Oats are also very low on fat and have no cholesterol and no sugars. It is also said that have significant nutrients densities for every nutrient they contain. This makes oats a very notable example of a nutrient-rich grain-based food (cereals in particular).
These are the top 7 types of cereal crops for you to know. Cereal crops are so important that they are regarded specially by governments due to their importance to nutrition and food security.