Millet is small-seeded species of cereal crops or grains, widely grown around the globe for food, fodder, and beer. Millets do not form a taxonomic group, but rather a functional or agronomic one. Their major similarities are that they are small-seeded grasses grown in difficult agronomic environments—mainly those at risk of drought—in such regions as India, East and West Africa, and China, with India being the main producer of millet (over 10 million tons in 2007) and Nigeria second (over 7 million tons in 2007). The millets include species in several genera, mostly in the subfamily Panicoideae of the grass family Poaceae.
Millets are major food sources in arid and semi-arid regions of the world and feature in the traditional cuisine of many others. Because millet contains minimal amounts of glucan, people with celiac disease can replace gluten-containing cereals in the diet with millet.
Millets are traditionally important grains and are used for brewing millet beer in some cultures. Millet beer, also known as Bantu beer, is an alcoholic beverage made from malted millet. This type of beer is common throughout Africa and is often served while still fermenting. Millet beer is also produced by the Tao people of Orchid Island, Taiwan along with sorghum. It is the base ingredient for the distilled liquor rakshi in Nepal and the indigenous alcoholic drink of the Sherpa, Tamang, and Limbu people. In Balkan countries, especially Romania and Bulgaria, millet is also used to prepare the fermented drink boza.