Bengaluru, May 12
The change in weather pattern brought about by Cyclone Asani in parts of Bihar and West Bengal is likely to affect the harvesting of the rabi maize crop, which could affect market arrivals, trade sources said. Bihar is the main producer of rabi maize, which is also grown in parts of West Bengal.
Prices of maize, which eased to around ₹2,150 levels per quintal in Gulabbagh late April, have rebounded now and are hovering around ₹2,250 levels on fears of bad weather influencing the market. Last year, maize prices were around ₹1,500 levels.
“In the past 4-5 days, prices got some support due to the rains in Bihar and arrivals are a bit lower. In April, the average arrivals were 1-1.2 lakh bags every day but now it has come down to 70,000-80,000 bags, resulting in prices getting some support,” said Indrajit Paul of Origo E-Mandi.
Apart from the scattered rains over past few days, there is some impact of cyclone Asani in Jharkhand, Bihar, Chhatisgarh and West Bengal, which is interrupting the harvest, Paul said.
“Maize needs sunny weather during harvest, but it is cloudy here and raining in parts of Bengal due to the influence of cyclone, which could further delay the arrivals,” said Santosh Kumar Sharma, a broker in Begusarai. Parts of Bihar have received unseasonal scattered rains in the recent past.
Sharma said the overall maize crop in Bihar is seen lower this year and the harvest has been pushed back by a couple of weeks due to the delayed sowing. Excess monsoon rains last year had led to flooding of fields delaying the sowing.
Sharma said arrivals are likely to pick up in over the next few weeks, provided the weather supports. “We have to see how this influence of cyclone going to impact,” he said.
Output lower than initial projections
As per the Agriculture Ministry’s second advanced estimates, rabi maize production this year is seen at 9.83 million tonnes, marginally lower than previous year’s 10.09 million tonnes.
Abhay Dandwate, chief risk officer of NBHC, said the rabi maize output is likely to be lower than then projections of 9.83 million tonnes, mainly due to the recent rains and storm impacting the crop in the Kosi area of Bihar. The delay in fertiliser availability, higher nutrient prices and switch over to other crops were also reasons for delayed sowing and reduced area under maize. There could be around 10 per cent decline in Bihar maize production, he said.
Origo’s Paul said Bihar’s production is a bit lower than the previous year. Prices may soften in the next couple of weeks with the progress in harvest and may go down to ₹2,050 levels on arrival pressure. However, the prices are unlikely to sustain at these levels for a longer time as there is still a supply crunch. “Once the price touches ₹2,050 levels, they may again rise to ₹2,400-2,500 levels till the new kharif crop comes,” Paul said.