India’s maize exports fell to a four-year low in the 2023-24 period, experiencing a 58 percent decline in volume. This drop was due to higher domestic prices and a reduced crop, coupled with increasing demand from ethanol, poultry, and starch manufacturers.

The country’s maize exports declined to 14.42 lakh tonnes during 2023-24 from the previous year’s 34.53 lakh tonnes as per the official data with large buyers such as Bangladesh and Vietnam reducing their off-take and shifting to other cheaper origins.

In dollar value terms, India maize or corn exports slipped by 60 per cent to $443 million during the period from the previous year’s $1116 million. In rupee value terms, the exports declined 59.2 per cent to ₹3660 crore from the previous year’s ₹8987 crore.

Vietnam was the largest buyer of Indian maize during 2023-24 with purchases at over 6.88 lakh tonnes. However, the exports to Vietnam were down by about 23 per cent from the previous year’s 8.91 lakh tonnes. Nepal was the second largest buyer of Indian maize during 2023-24 with purchases of some 3.78 lakh tonnes. Exports to Nepal during the year were down by 3.3 per cent from previous year’s 3.91 lakh tonnes.

Bangladesh, the largest buyers of Indian corn in the recent year reduced its purchases sharply with the Indian prices not being competitive compared to global prices. Exports to Bangladesh fell sharply by about 88 per cent during 2023-24 to 2.08 lakh tonnes from the previous year’s 17.09 lakh tonnes.

Trade sources said Indian maize has not been competitive in the world market due to higher domestic prices and as a result the exports have come to a halt. Also, the increase in domestic demand from sectors such as poultry, starch and ethanol blending fuelled the demand for maize in the local market.

As per the second advance estimates maize crop for 2023-24 is seen lower at 324.70 lakh tonnes down from previous year’s 380.85 lakh tonnes, which includes a summer crop output of 27.21 lakh tonnes.

Kharif maize output during 2023-24 was down at 227 lakh tonnes over previous year’s 236.74 lakh tonnes, while the rabi season output was estimated lower at 97.50 lakh tonnes over previous year’s 116.9 lakh tonnes. Dry weather conditions and erratic rainfall triggered by the El Nino conditions had impacted the maize crop output in key producing states such as Karnataka and Bihar among others.