Prices of ragi (finger millet) have shot up 60 per cent to Rs 2,200-2,300 a quintal compared with last year due to poor crop in Karnataka.

“This year, there has been a good demand for ragi, but due to poor rains in November and December, crop realisation has been 35-40 per cent,” B.V. Gopal Reddy, Vice-President, Karnataka Maize/Ragi Merchants’ Association, told Business Line .

“Last year crop was good in terms of quantity and prices were low. This year, due to shortage, prices have firmed up sharply. If the same trend continues, prices of ragi are likely to touch Rs 3,000-3,200 in short term,” he added.

According to the Karnataka Agriculture Department, the rabi target for ragi was 0.36 lakh hectares. But the actual area sown was 0.39 lakh hectares. Due to poor rains and inadequate moisture, the crop withered in major growing areas of the State.

Ragi is extensively grown in major growing regions such as Chamarajnagar, Hassan, Doddaballapur and Chikaballapur, Bangalore rural, Magadi, Kanakapura, Hosadurga, Bellary, Davangere, Haveri and Harappanahalli.

Arrivals of ragi in key markets in Karnataka have begun to slow down.

Since ragi is staple food in rural Karnataka especially southern districts, many farmers have kept nearly quarter of what they have grown for both self consumption and sowing. Another reason for prices to firm up is due to good demand from cities such as Mumbai and Delhi due to its medicinal and nutritional properties.

“This crop year, traders and agro processing industries from Mumbai procured 70-80 tonnes a month compared with 20-30 tonnes last year,” said Reddy. Whereas buyers from Delhi procured from both Ranchi and Karnataka.