Agri Business

As arrivals pick up, prices of maize slip below support level

Vishwanath Kulkarni Bengaluru | Updated on November 21, 2019

Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh are the major maize producing States. Representative image

Distressed farmers want procurement mechanism to cover coarse cereals, too

Prices of maize that ruled above ₹2,000 a quintal level for most part of the year have started trending lower on pick up in arrivals and have slipped below the minimum support price levels across several markets in States such as Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Telangana.


For the growers, who battled challenges such as incessant rains and the dreaded pest -- the fall army worm (FAW) -- the downtrend in prices coinciding with the harvest season has come as a shocker. However, the softening price trend has provided some relief for another segment of the farming community -- the poultry players.

In Karnataka, the major producer of maize in the kharif season, the prices of the coarse cereal have dropped below the MSP in the key growing region of Davangere and Chitradurga districts as farmers bring more produce to the market yards. The Centre had fixed a MSP of ₹ 1,760 per quintal for the 2019-20 season.

In Harapanahalli, where the arrivals were the highest on Wednesday exceeding 1,000 tonnes, the modal price for the fair average quality (FAQ) stood at ₹1,978 per quintal, higher than the MSP. However, in many other markets such as Davangere, Chitradurga, Hanagal, Hirekerur and Piriyapatna, the decline in modal prices below the MSP level has triggered demand from farmer groups seeking government intervention.

“The harvest has just begun, and already the prices are trending lower. We expect the arrivals to pick up in the weeks ahead, which will lead to further pressure on prices. The government should look at market intervention to procure maize,” said Nulenur Shankarappa of the Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS).

In the absence of any procurement mechanism for maize, the farmers, who do not have adequate storage facilities, are left to the mercy of the traders, Shankarappa said. “The MSP mechanism is only on paper as far as maize is concerned. As maize is not distributed under the public distribution system (PDS), the governments -- both state and Centre -- are not keen on procuring it. The governments should amend the current norms to ensure that maize is procured under the public procurement mechanism,” Shankarappa said. Farmer groups led by KRRS are planning to stage protests soon to attract the government’s attention, he added.

Rains help in fighting pest

KS Akhilesh Babu, President, Karnataka Poultry Farmers and Breeders Association, said the overall maize crop looks good and the arrivals will pick up in the next couple of weeks.

“The tension of not having maize is not going to be there now,” Babu said, adding that it would bring down the costs for the poultry sector. The shortage of maize last year had led to a rise in prices, triggering demand for imports from the poultry sector.

Babu said the good prices last year had prompted farmers to take a larger area. The yield also looks good this year despite the pest attack and rains. The prolonged rainy spell, incidentally, helped the farmers to overcome the FAW menace.

Published on November 21, 2019

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