Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter urges cor­po­rate sec­tor to add value to maize pro­duce

FICCI-Syn­ergy Tech­nofin Pa­per

FICCI Business Digest - - Contents -

The FICCI-Syn­ergy Tech­nofin Knowl­edge Pa­per states that In­dia is tra­di­tion­ally a ma­jor ex­porter of maize to South­east Asia but the fall in its pro­duc­tion from record 24.26 mil­lion tonnes in 2013-14 to 21 mil­lion tonnes in 2015-16 has forced In­dia to ban its ex­port and pre­pare to im­port corn for the first time in 16 years to help en­sure its avail­abil­ity in the do­mes­tic mar­ket. To com­bat this sit­u­a­tion, em­pha­sis should be on in­creased yield per unit area and aug­mented pro­duc­tiv­ity lev­els to help buffer pro­duc­tion against acreage fluc­tu­a­tions and va­garies of weather.

Driven by struc­tural changes in agri­cul­ture and food con­sump­tion pat­terns, maize is bound to hold its share as an im­por­tant ce­real crop in fu­ture. Be­sides its ex­port po­ten­tial and di­ver­si­fied uses, maize cul­ti­va­tion of­fers so­lu­tions for sus­tain­able in­ten­si­fi­ca­tion of agri­cul­ture. By cul­ti­vat­ing maize, farm­ers can pro­tect the wors­en­ing qual­ity of soil, save 90 per cent of wa­ter and 70 per cent of power as com­pared to paddy and earn far more than they are earn­ing through paddy and wheat.

Do­mes­tic uti­liza­tion of maize in In­dia is high and net sur­plus avail­able for ex­ports is less. Stock to con­sump­tion ra­tio in In­dia is low. Pro­duc­tion fluc­tu­a­tion,

largely be­cause of rain­fed cul­ti­va­tion of the crop in large pock­ets, has not en­cour­aged steady ex­ports from the coun­try. In­dia ex­ports maize in small quan­ti­ties to South East Asia, Bangladesh and Nepal. Ma­jor im­porters of maize, e.g. the EU, Ja­pan, Mex­ico and South Korea de­pend on the USA, Brazil, Ar­gentina and Ukraine for sup­ply. Ukraine and Ar­gentina are the emerg­ing play­ers in maize trade with im­pres­sive growth rates in pro­duc­tiv­ity and pro­duc­tion.

The pa­per states that while area un­der maize will fluc­tu­ate as a re­sul­tant of de­mand, poli­cies and agro cli­matic con­di­tions, em­pha­sis should be on in­creased yield per unit area. In­crease pro­duc­tiv­ity can help buffer pro­duc­tion against acreage fluc­tu­a­tions and va­garies of weather.

While sev­eral po­ten­tial HYVs and hy­brids have been re­leased, aware­ness and adop­tion is a challenge. Seed re­place­ment ra­tio for maize in In­dia is 60-65%, though it is much higher for hy­brids. Pro­mot­ing cul­ti­vars ap­po­site to dif­fer­ent end uses and agro cli­matic con­di­tions is an­other challenge.

Post-har­vest pro­cesses in In­dia are not sci­en­tific and con­ven­tional meth­ods of stor­age and han­dling in­flu­ence qual­ity and price re­al­ized by farm­ers. High mois­ture con­tent in stored grains af­fects the mar­ket value of grains. Ini­tia­tives to set up maize dry­ing units, e.g. in Pun­jab, is a laud­able ef­fort in post-har­vest man­age­ment. Maize value chain in In­dia can thus be strength­ened with adop­tion of ap­pro­pri­ate cul­ti­vars, sci­en­tific crop man­age­ment and im­proved posthar­vest han­dling, the knowl­edge notes.

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