Various cereals are grown around the world and have assorted purposes. Some are prominently supported in agriculture development projects whereas others are ignored. Certain uses of cereal grains have come under scrutiny as to their value in ensuring food security and health while other uses are assumed to be beneficial and healthy. The presentation reviewed cereal grains grown around the world, their origin, and their typical uses; compare their nutritional and agronomic similarities and differences; and present evidence to help frame debate on their appropriate end uses, and roles in crop diversification and development investments.
Globally, maize, rice, and wheat, account for about 85 percent of cereals grown. Roughly one-third of the annual global production of these cereals is used for animal feed while almost 10 percent is used to produce liquid fuels. Minor cereals (barley, sorghum, millet, oats, triticale, rye, fonio, and teff) are primarily used for human food and beverages with limited use for animal feed.
Cutting-edge research is now only beginning to reveal the relationships between cereals in the diet, gut micro flora, metabolism, and health. Future development projects in cereal value chains may want to include long-term health implications as a part of their rationale and justification.
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