National Geographic : 1975 Jul
The world's major foods COMBINE SEEDS, SOIL, AND WATER with shafts of sunlight, and the miracle of photosynthesis produces plants-the basic food of all animal life. Each year the world devours 1.2 billion metric tons of cereal grains. People of poorer nations, eating cereals directly, consume about 400 pounds a year each, while the most affluent consume nearly a ton in the converted form of meat, eggs, and dairy products. Legumes, such as soybeans, are rich in protein; roots and tubers yield vital calories. CORN, OR MAIZE The only important cereal of American origin, this grain is eaten directly in many lands but fed primarily to livestock in the U. S. Hybrids make it the most productive of grains. SORGHUM Introduced to America as food for slaves, this versatile African grass provides human food, feed grain, molasses, pasturage, and broom straw. WHEAT Monarch of cereals and the basic grain of world trade, wheat edges out corn as man's premier crop. The U. S. ranks second to the Soviet Union in production, but harvests substantially more per acre. MILLET Millions of the world's poorest peoples - inhabitants of semiarid tropics in Asia and Africa- rely for survival on millet and its equally hardy sister cereal, sorghum.