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Overview

Comprehensive Description

Brief

Flowering class: Monocot Habit: Herb
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Distribution

"
Global Distribution

Widely cultivated in Paleotropics

Indian distribution

State - Kerala, District/s: Idukki, Kollam, Alappuzha, Kozhikkode, Palakkad

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Distribution in Egypt

Nile and Mediterranean regions.

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Global Distribution

Cultivated in the Old World tropics and subtropics; probably arose in the uplands of east Africa as a derivative of Eleusine africana (q.v.)

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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Eleusine stricta var. rufoelongata Cif.:
Ethiopia (Africa & Madagascar)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Eleusine stricta var. rufoabbreviata Cif.:
Ethiopia (Africa & Madagascar)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Eleusine stricta var. fuscoelongata Cif.:
Ethiopia (Africa & Madagascar)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Eleusine stricta var. fuscoabbreviata Cif.:
Ethiopia (Africa & Madagascar)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Eleusine stricta var. alboelongata Cif.:
Ethiopia (Africa & Madagascar)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Eleusine stricta var. alboabbreviata Cif.:
Ethiopia (Africa & Madagascar)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Eleusine indica var. brachystachya Trin.:
Mexico (Mesoamerica)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Eleusine coracana (L.) Gaertn.:
Burma (Asia)
Cameroon (Africa & Madagascar)
Ethiopia (Africa & Madagascar)
Gabon (Africa & Madagascar)
India (Asia)
Malawi (Africa & Madagascar)
Namibia (Africa & Madagascar)
Nepal (Asia)
Sri Lanka (Asia)
Tanzania (Africa & Madagascar)
Uganda (Africa & Madagascar)
United States (North America)
South Africa (Africa & Madagascar)
Zimbabwe (Africa & Madagascar)
Zambia (Africa & Madagascar)
China (Asia)
Brazil (South America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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This species is widely cultivated in the tropics of the Old World.
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Cultivated in tropics of Old World, introduced into the New World.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Physical Description

Annuals, Terrestrial, not aquatic, Stems nodes swollen or brittle, Stems erect or ascending, Stems caespitose, tufted, or clustered, Stems terete, round in cross section, or polygonal, Stems branching above base or distally at nodes, Stem internodes hollow, Stems with inflorescence less than 1 m tall, Stems with inflorescence 1-2 m tall, Stems, culms, or scapes exceeding basal leaves, Leaves mostly basal, below middle of stem, Leaves conspicuously 2-ranked, distichous, Leaves sheathing at base, Leaf sheath mostly open, or loose, Leaf sheath smooth, glabrous, Leaf sheath hairy, hispid or prickly, Leaf sheath or blade keeled, Leaf sheath and blade differentiated, Leaf blades linear, Leaf blades 2-10 mm wide, Leaf blades 1-2 cm wide, Leaf blade margins folded, involute, or conduplicate, Leaf blades mostly glabrous, Leaf blades more or less hairy, Leaf blades scabrous, roughened, or wrinkled, Ligule present, Ligule a fringed, ciliate, or lobed membrane, Inflorescence terminal, Inflorescence solitary, with 1 spike, fascicle, glomerule, head, or cluster per stem or culm, Inflorescence a panicle with digitately arranged spicate branches, Inflorescence with 2-10 branches, Inflorescence branches 1-sided, Inflorescence branches paired or digitate at a single node, Rachis dilated, flat, central axis to which spikelets are attached, Flowers bisexual, Spikelets sessile or subsessile, Spikelets laterally compressed, Spikelet less than 3 mm wide, Spikelets with 3-7 florets, Spikelets with 8-40 florets, Spikelets solitary at rachis nodes, Spikelets all alike and fertille, Spikelets bisexual, Spikelets disarticulating above the glumes, glumes persistent, Spikelets disarticulating beneath or between the florets, Spikelets secund, in rows on one side of rachis, Rachilla or pedicel glabrous, Glumes present, empty bracts, Glumes 2 clearly present, Glumes distinctly unequal, Glumes shorter than adjacent lemma, Glumes keeled or winged, Glumes 3 nerved, Lemmas thin, chartaceous, hyaline, cartilaginous, or membranous, Lemma 3 nerved, Lemma glabrous, Lemma apex acute or acuminate, Lemma awnless, Lemma margins thin, lying flat, Lemma straight, Palea present, well developed, Palea membranous, hyaline, Palea about equal to lemma, Palea 2 nerved or 2 keeled, Stamens 3, Styles 2-fid, deeply 2-branched, Stigmas 2, Fruit - caryopsis, Caryopsis isodiametric, trigonous or globose, broadest at base or beaked, Caryopsis minutely rugose.
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Dr. David Bogler

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Description

(African or Finger Millet) is sometimes cultivated in the plains and lower hills (usually below 300m) and used to make a kind of porridge or alcoholic beverage. The species may occasionally escape and can be recognised by the broad spikes of closely packed, non-shattering spikelets and the almost globular grains.
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Description

Annual. Culms tufted, robust, erect or ascending, usually branched, 50–120 cm tall. Leaf sheaths glabrous; leaf blades flat, 30–60 × 0.6–1.2 cm, pilose or glabrous; ligule 1–2 mm. Inflorescence subdigitate, racemes 5–20, stout, often incurved at maturity, 5–10 × 0.8–1.5 cm, hairy at base. Spikelets very closely imbricate, ovate, 5–9 mm, florets 6–9, not disarticulating at maturity; glumes lanceolate-oblong, scabrid along the winged keel; lower glume 3-veined, 1.5–3 mm; upper glume with additional veins in keel, 1.8–5 mm; lemmas triangular-ovate, 2.2–4.7 mm, keel 3-veined, scabrid and narrowly winged, subacute; palea narrowly ovate, keels scabrid, winged. Grain yellowish brown, globose, finely striate-punctate. Fl. and fr. May–Sep. 2n = 36.
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Description

Culm tufted. Blade linear; sheath overlapping; ligule 1-2 mm long, a fringe of hairs. Inflorescence of digitate one-sided spikes. Spikelets 2-4-flowered, about 5 mm long; glumes chartaceous, folded, conspicuously keeled on back, acute; the lower 2/3 as long as the upper; lemma deltoid-ovate, acute, keeled on back, about 3.5 mm long, 5-nerved, lateral nerves close to the midrib; palea narrowly ovate, 2-keeled, siliceous along keels, as long as the lemma. Seed about 1 mm long, black and wrinkled; embryo 1/2-3/4 the length of the seed. Fruit an utricle.
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Elevation Range

1100-2000 m
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Diagnostic Description

Diagnostic

"Annuals or perennials. Culms erect, 25-60 cm high; nodes glabrous. Leaves linear, 10-80 x 0.3-1 cm, acute or acuminate, rounded or shallowly cordate at base. Sheaths strongly keeled, compressed. Ligules row of hairs. Spikes digitate, 3-8 in number, 2-8 cm long, compact, densely spiculate. Spikelets ovate, 4-6 mm long, 4-6-flowered. Lower glume ovate-oblong, 2-3 x 1.5-3 mm, chartaceous, 3-nerved, keeled, keel scabrid. Upper glume ovate-lanceolate, 3-4 x 1.5-3 mm, chartaceous, 5-nerved, keeled; keel scabrid. Lemmas ovate-acute, 2-4 x 2-3 mm, chartaceous, 3-nerved. Paleas ovate-oblong, 2-3 x 1.5-3 mm, chartaceous, 2-keeled; keels winged, scabrid. Stamens 3; anthers 1-1.5 mm long. Grain orbicular or globose, dark-brown, exposed."
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Synonym

Cynosurus coracanus L., Syst. Nat. ed. 10. 2: 875. 1759.
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Synonym

Cynosurus coracanus Linnaeus, Syst. Nat., ed. 10, 2: 875. 1759 ["coracan"].
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Ecology

Habitat

General Habitat

Cultivated
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Cultivated for forage (African or Finger Millet) and occasionally escaping.

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Habitat & Distribution

Cultivated cereal crop. Anhui, Fujian, Guangdong, Guizhou, Hainan, Henan, Hubei, Jiangxi, Ningxia, Shandong, Sichuan, Taiwan, Yunnan, Zhejiang [widely cultivated in tropical and subtropical regions of the Old World].
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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Flowering and fruiting: December-March
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Life Expectancy

Annual.

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Eleusine coracana

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 4
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Uses

Medicinal
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Wikipedia

Eleusine coracana

Eleusine coracana, including African finger millet and caracan millet (koracan),[1] / Raagi (Kannada: ರಾಗಿ, Tamil:இராகி/கேழ்வரகு, Telugu: రాగి) is an annual plant widely grown as a cereal in the arid areas of Africa and Asia. E. coracana is native to the Ethiopian Highlands.[2] It is very adaptable to higher elevations and is grown in the Himalaya up to 2,300 metres in elevation.

History[edit]

Archaeological excavations show that improved forms of finger millet were once the staple grain diet of southern Africa.[3]

Cultivation[edit]

Eleusine coracana is often intercropped with legumes such as peanuts (Arachis hypogea), cowpeas (Vigna sinensis), and pigeon peas (Cajanus cajan), or other plants such as Niger seeds (Guizotia abyssinica).

Finger millet

Although statistics on individual millet species are confused, and are sometimes combined with sorghum, it is estimated that finger millet is grown on approximately 38,000 km2.

India is a major cultivator of finger millet with a total cultivated area of 15870 km2. The state of Karnataka is the leading producer of finger millet, known as Ragi in the region, accounting for 58% of India's Ragi production.[4]

Fields of finger millet in the Annapurna region of Nepal

Storage[edit]

Once harvested, the seeds keep extremely well and are seldom attacked by insects or moulds. The long storage capacity makes finger millet an important crop in risk-avoidance strategies for poorer farming communities.

Nutrition[edit]

Finger millet is especially valuable as it contains the amino acid methionine, which is lacking in the diets of hundreds of millions of the poor who live on starchy staples such as cassava, plantain, polished rice, or maize meal. Finger millet can be ground and cooked into cakes, puddings or porridge. The grain is made into a fermented drink (or beer) in Nepal and in many parts of Africa. The straw from finger millet is used as animal fodder. It is also used for a flavored drink in festivals.

Nutritional value of finger millet per 100g [5]

Protein 7.6g
Fat 1.5g
Carbohydrate 88g
Calcium 370mg
Vitamins - A: 0.48mg
Thiamine (B1): 0.33mg
Riboflavin (B2): 0.11mg
Niacin: (B3) 1.2mg
Fiber 3g

Growing finger millet to improve nutrition[edit]

The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), a member of the CGIAR consortium, partners with farmers, governments, researchers and NGOs to help farmers grow nutritious crops, including finger millet. This helps their communities have more balanced diets and become more resilient to pests and drought. For example, the Harnessing Opportunities for Productivity Enhancement of Sorghum and Millets in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia (HOPE) project is increasing yields of finger millet in Tanzania by encouraging farmers to grow improved varieties. Finger millet is very high in calcium, rich in iron and fibre, and has a better energy content than other cereals. These characteristics make it ideal for feeding to infants and the elderly.[6]

Preparation as food[edit]

In India[edit]

In Karnataka, Ragi flour is boiled in water and the resultant preparation, called Ragi Mudde is eaten with Sambar.

In India, finger millet (locally called by various name including ragi and nachani) is mostly grown and consumed in Karnataka, Rajasthan,[7] Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Maharashtra, Garhwal and Kumaon (Uttarakhand) and Goa.[8][9] Ragi flour is made into flatbreads, including thin, leavened dosa and thicker, unleavened roti. Ragi grain is malted and the grains are ground. This ground flour is consumed mixed with milk, boiled water or yoghurt.

Finger millet in its commonly consumed form as a porridge

In India, Ragi recipes are hundreds in number and even common food stuffs such as dosa, idly and laddu are made out of ragi.

Western and Konkan Region[edit]

In Goa ragi is very popular and satva, pole (dosa), bhakri, ambil (a sour porridge) are very common preparations. Nachani Ladus are common in some families. In Maharashtra, bhakri (भाकरी in Marathi; also called ಭಕ್ರಿ bhakri in Northern Karnataka), a type of flat bread is prepared using finger millet (ragi) flour. Bhakri is called ರಾಗಿ ರೊಟ್ಟಿ (ragi rotti in Kannada) in Northern districts of Karnataka.

Pappad made of finger millet (Eleusine coracana) in Gujrat

In South India[edit]

In Karnataka, ragi flour is generally consumed in the form of ragi balls (ರಾಗಿ ಮುದ್ದೆ ragi mudde in Kannada). It is the staple diet of majority of Southern Kannadigas, especially in the rural areas. The mudde which is prepared by cooking the Ragi flour with water to achieve a dough like consistency. Which is then rolled into 'balls' of desired size and consumed. Ghee with huLi, Saaru, saaru or chicken curry is generally served along with these balls. Mudde is broken with the fingers into small chunks, dipped in the saaru or the curry and swallowed without chewing.

In Andhra Pradesh Ragi Sankati or Ragi muddha (రాగి సంకటి in Telugu), which are ragi balls are eaten in the morning with a chilli, onions, sambar (lentil based stew)or meat curry and helps them sustain throughout the whole day and it keeps the body cool which is very useful as this area is located in tropical region.

In Tamil Nadu, it is called kezhvaragu or just keppai. It is dried, powdered and boiled to form a thick mass that is allowed to cool. This is the famed 'kali' or 'keppai kali'. This is made into large balls to quantify the intake. It is taken with sambar or thick spicy lentil soups flavored with tamarind extracts. For children, it is also given with milk and sugar. It is also made in the form of pancakes with onions and tomatoes chopped. Kezhvaragu is used to make puttu with jaggery/sugar and adai(by making a thick paste(sweet or salt is used) and tapping it flat on hot skillet). Apart from that its used for medicinal value for sinus and severe cold by applying (boiled kezhvaragu flour cooled to skin bearable heat) on forehead.

Grocery shop display of Ragi in Tamil Nadu

In Kerala, Puttu: Puttu is the traditional breakfast of Kerala, usually made with Rice powder together with coconut grating and steamed in a cylindrical steamer. The preparation is also made with Ragi powder, which is supposed to be more nutritive.

Central & Northern India[edit]

In Odisha the tribal and western hilly regions ragi or (ମାଣ୍ଡିଆ)Mandiaa is a staple food.The porridge and Pithas made up of ragi are more popular among village folk.

In Garhwal region of Uttarakhand, Maddua (मंडुआ) is made into thick rotis (served with ghee), and also made into dish, badi (बाड़ी), similar to halwa but without sugar. In the Kumaon region of northern India, it is called Maddua and is traditionally fed to women after child birth.

In South and Far East Asia[edit]

In Nepal[edit]

In Nepal, a thick dough made of millet flour (ḍhĩḍo ढिंडो) is cooked and eaten with the hand. Fermented millet is used to make a beer (jããḍ जाँड) and the mash is distilled to make a liquor (rakśi रक्शी).

In Sri Lanka[edit]

In Sri Lanka, Finger millet is called Kurakkan and is made into: Kurakkan roti: An earthy brown thick roti with coconut. Thallapa: A thick dough made of ragi by boiling it with water and some salt until like a dough ball, it is then eaten with a very spicy meat curry and is usually swallowed in small balls than chewing.

A retail pack of Kurakkan flour in Sri Lanka

In Vietnam[edit]

In the northwest of Vietnam, finger millet is used as a medicine for women when they give birth. A minority used finger millet flour to make alcohol (bacha alcohol is a good drink of the H'mong minority).

As Health Food[edit]

In southern parts of India, pediatricians recommend finger-millet-based food for infants of six months and above because of its high nutritional content, especially Iron and calcium. Home made Ragi malt happens to be one of the most popular infant food even to this day.

Holy Deity food[edit]

In Tamil Nadu, ragi is considered to be the holy food of Amman, otherwise knowns as "Goddess Kali". Every small or large festival of this goddess is celebrated with, women making porridge in the temples and distributing it to the poor and needy. This porridge is called Kuzl which is a staple diet in farming communities alongside raw onion.

As Beverage[edit]

Ragi Malt porridge is made from finger millet which is soaked and shadow dried, then roasted and ground. This preparation is boiled in water and given to children, patients, adults, etc. This is a good substitute for, and better than, Horlicks, Bournvita, Milo, etc.

Common names for finger millet[edit]

  • Arabic: tailabon لدخن
  • Chinese: 穇子 (Traditional), 䅟子 (Simplified), cǎnzi (pinyin)
  • Danish: Fingerhirse
  • Dhivehi: ބިންބި Binbi
  • English: Finger millet, African millet, Koracan, Natcheny, Ragi
  • Ethiopia: dagussa (Soddo), tokuso (Amharic), barankiya (Oromo)
  • French: eleusine cultivee, coracan, koracan
  • German: Fingerhirse
  • India:
    • Assamese: মৰুবা ধান maruba dhan
    • Gujarati: બાવટો bavato; નાચણી nachni; નાગલી nagali
    • Hindi): मड़ुआ madua/marua; मंडुआ mandua; मड़ुवा maruwa/maduwa; मंडवा mandwa; रागी ragi
    • Kannada): ರಾಗಿ ragi
    • Kumaon: maddua
    • Konkani: नांचणी nanchani; नासणे/नाचणे nasne/nachne
    • Maithili, (Bihar, especially in Mithila region): madua
    • Malayalam രാഗി ragi;muthary/kuvaraku/kurumbullu/panjipul
    • Marathi: नाचणी nachani; नागली nagali
    • Oriya: mandia
    • Pahari, Himachal Pradesh: कोद्र kodra
    • Punjabi: mandal ਮੰਦਲ , mandhul ਮੰਢੁਲ ; mundal ਮੁੰਡਲ
    • Rajasthani: nachani नाचणी ; ragi रागी
    • Sanskrit: madhulika मधुलिका; mattakam मट्टकम् ; nrutyakundala नृत्यकुण्डलक
    • Tamil: aariyam ஆரியம் ; iraki இராகி ; kel-varaku கேழ்வரகு ; kezhvaragu கேழ்வரகு ; kayppai/keppai கேப்பை
    • Telugu: ragi రాగి
    • Telangana region: tamidalu తమిదలు
    • Urdu: mandwa منڐوا maruwa مڙوا ragi راگی
  • Japan: 四国稗 シコクビエ shikoku hie shikokubie
  • Kenya: wimbi (Swahili), kal (Dholuo), ugimbi (Kikuyu and Meru), obori (Kisii)
  • Korea: 수수 susu
  • Nepal: kodo कोदो ; maruwa मड़ुवा
  • Nigeria: tamba (Hausa)
  • Rwanda: uburo
  • Sri Lanka: kurakkan කුරක්කන් (Sinhala)
  • Sudan: tailabon (Arabic), ceyut (Bari)
  • Tanzania: Mbege, Mwimbi, Wimbi, Ulezi (Swahili)
  • Tibetan: bras ma du lun ga
  • Uganda: Bulo
  • Vietnam: Hong mi, Chi ke
  • Zambia: Kambale, lupoko, mawele, majolothi, amale, bule
  • Zimbabwe: Rapoko, zviyo, njera, rukweza, mazhovole, uphoko, poho

References[edit]

  1. ^ "USDA GRIN Taxonomy". 
  2. ^ A.C. D'Andrea, D.E. Lyons, Mitiku Haile, E.A. Butler, "Ethnoarchaeological Approaches to the Study of Prehistoric Agriculture in the Ethiopian Highlands" in Van der Veen, ed., The Exploitation of Plant Resources in Ancient Africa. Kluwer Academic: Plenum Publishers, New York, 1999.
  3. ^ Gibbs-Russell, G.E., Watson, L., Koekemoer, M., Smook, L. Barker, N.P., Anderson, H.M., Dallwitz, M.J. 1989. Grasses of southern Africa. Memoirs of the Botanical Survey of South Africa, No. 58, National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.
  4. ^ Govt of India - Ministry of Agrriculture Report on Ragi harvest
  5. ^ "Eleusine coracana - (L.)Gaertn.". Plants For A Future. Retrieved 19 November 2012. 
  6. ^ Alina Paul Bossuet, Nourishing Communities Through Holistic Farming http://exploreit.icrisat.org/page/sorghum/882/249. ICRISAT. Downloaded 26 January 2014.
  7. ^ Rajasthan: by Gopal K. Bhargava, Shankarlal C. Bhatt,p 319
  8. ^ Ragi is one of the important crop in the Indian state of Goa
  9. ^ "Ragi". Tamilnadu.com. 8 April 2013. 
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This species is used for cereal, forage, papermaking, and soil-retention.
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In Taiwan, it is especially grown by the Tribal peoples.
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