Jowar, widely known as Sorghum is a cereal grain scientifically known as ‘Sorghum bicolor’, and belongs to the grass family ‘Poaceae’.
The grain is also known by the names such as milo, broom corn, great millet, guinea corn, imphee and durra. It is consumed mainly in the form of various food items such as rotis, pancake, porridge, dosa and upma that are made with its flour and rava. Like Maize and bajra, jowar also is used to make popcorn which is a popular and widely consumed snack. Moreover, the grain is used as fodder for the cattle and to make certain alcoholic beverages and biofuels like ethanol.
Based on certain archaeological evidence Jowar is supposed to have originated from certain regions in Ethiopia, Sudan, and West Africa more than 7000 years ago. Today it is one of the important and widely cultivated food and fodder cereal crops in India, South Asia, Africa and Central America.
Jowar can be cultivated both as Kharif and rabi crop as it is tolerant to drought and heat, and can be cultivated even in arid regions as the same is capable to survive and grow with comparatively little irrigation. It is the fifth most produced and consumed cereal crop in the world after rice, wheat, maize and barley.
Jowar is a crop that can be cultivated almost on all types of soil varieties and in different climates. However, the plants thrive and yield more in fertile sandy loam soils with good drainage and in moderate warm climates.
The plants normally grow 6-8 feet in height and take 4-5 months to bear the grains that are found in white, ivory, yellow, deep red, purple and brown colours.
Jowar contains, carbohydrates, fiber, sugar, calcium, protein, potassium, iron, sodium, Thiamine, niacin, riboflavin and folate. It is gluten-free and does not contain the same which is a protein component commonly found in food items made with wheat and barley, that may cause digestive problems like bloating, stomach cramps and pain. Jowar is purported to control blood sugar levels, improve heart and bone health, help lose weight, and boost blood circulation and energy levels. It is also cold and can leave a cooling effect on the body.
The largest producer of jowar in the world is the US followed by Nigeria, Ethiopia, Sudan, India, China, and Brazil. The US is also the top exporter of the same followed by Argentina, India, Ethiopia, Brazil and South Africa, while the main Importer is China, followed by Japan, Spain, Mexico, Sudan, Ethiopia and Pakistan.
In India, the top producer of jowar is Maharashtra, followed by Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
Some of the major trading markets of jowar in India:
Maharashtra (Jalgaon, Nasik, Pune, Solapur, Ahmednagar, Satara)
Karnataka (Davangere, Koppal, Kolar, Belgaum, Bellary, Mysore)
Andhra Pradesh (Kurnool, Ananthapur, Vijayawada)
Uttar Pradesh (Fatehpur, Ghaziabad, Meerut, Sitapur, Kanpur Nagar)
Names of jowar in different Indian languages:
*Take necessary precautions while giving money or product in advance.