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In areas of the world where drought is a common occurrence, the growth of many types of crops is prevented, and famine can become an ever-prevalent issue. There is often plenty of arable land in these areas, just not enough water. Subsequently, much work has gone into the growth of drought-resistant crops that do not require much irrigation. These crops are not intended as cash crops but rather as subsistence crops for food and materials. Different types of drought-resistant crops include sorghum, pearl millet, and chickpeas, as well as pigeon peas and groundnuts.
Sorghum is a grain-grass cereal crop that includes many different species, most of which are useful as drought-resistant crops. Various food items can be produced from sorghum, including porridge and bread. People also cook it in a number of ways, from grinding into flour to boiling the grains. This type of crop has a high yield potential and is very versatile as it can also be used for animal feed. It is gluten free, very nutritious, and has antioxidant properties.
Pearl millet is an annual grass that is also highly versatile. Besides a variety of food products, the grains and straw can be used for animal feed, as building materials, and to make fuel. It is also quite pest resistant and has long storage capabilities. Pearl millet is highly nutritious, providing a source of methionine, calcium, and iron.
Chickpeas are another example of drought-resistant crops. These seeds are used in a huge variety of food products, often made into flour or eaten whole in dishes. People also eat the shoots and immature seeds as a vegetable in their own right. Chickpeas are highly nutritious, providing a good source of zinc, folate, and phosphorus. They also have a very high protein and dietary fiber content and are gluten free.
Pigeon peas are often grown mixed in with other drought-resistant crops. The seeds are high in protein and vitamin B and are eaten whole, dehulled, or ground into flour from which people make a number of different foods. These peas can also be processed into split peas, or dhal. This crop has good storage potential and is also versatile with its woody stems being used for a variety of applications including firewood, fencing, and thatch for buildings. Pigeon peas are also an excellent source of nitrogen and can be used as fertilizer.
A final type of drought-resistant crop is the groundnut, also known as the peanut. Although people eat the legume itself in a number of food products, the oil is also edible and widely used. Peanuts are an excellent subsistence crop due to their high protein content and the presence of vitamins E, K, and B complex. They are also a good source of folate and fiber and have antioxidant qualities. People also process peanuts into cakes that can be used for animal feed.