Agri Business

Maize gains acreage in Karnataka, MP

Vishwanath Kulkarni Bengaluru | Updated on July 15, 2021

Telangana also reports an increase, but sowing down in Rajasthan and Maharashtra

Major kharif maize-producing states such as Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh are reporting a rise in acreage as farmers show more interest in sowing the coarse cereal crop. But states such as Rajasthan and Maharashtra see a dip, pulling down the overall acreage countrywide.

Till July 9, maize was planted on 49.16 lakh hectares (lh), some 7 per cent lower than the 52.94 lh seen during the same period a year ago. The area under maize in Karnataka has increased by 25 per cent, while in MP it is 15 per cent more, and almost four times in Telangana.

“Karnataka and MP are racing neck-to-neck in terms of area,” said Sujay Rakshit, Director, ICAR-Indian Institute of Maize Research. It appears there is a shift from soyabean to maize in MP as unseasonal rains and the rust disease affected farmers last year. Also, the proactive role played by the MP Government, in collaboration with IIMR, in promoting maize in districts such as Chindwara is helping, Rakshit said.

Maize is largely grown in southern MP, in and around Chhindwara, as also in its southwestern parts such as Khargone and Barwani, besides the regions around Indore.

“Maize seed sales have increased this year as a section of the farmers have switched from soyabean and cotton,” said Touseef Khan, co-founder and CEO of Gramophone, an agri-tech start-up in Indore that sells inputs such as seeds and agrochemicals besides offering advisory to farmers.

Khan said the southwest is a cotton-growing region in MP. “There is a shrinkage in acreage of cotton as farmers have shifted to alternatives like soyabean and maize. As soyabean acreages have also shrunk a bit, farmers are seen preferring maize, the third major crop in the region,” Khan said.

Pricier seeds

Also, soyabean seed prices had nearly doubled at over ₹9,000 per quintal against the normal of ₹4,000-5,000 per quintal. “Soyabean seed prices were very high because the crop was not very good last year. Many farmers, especially the smaller ones, have considered other crops including maize, as the cost of cultivation of soyabean has also gone up, besides the shortage of seeds,” he said.

Moreover, several regions in MP had not received sufficient rainfall, impacting soyabean plantings.

For the kharif season, the Agriculture Ministry has set a higher maize production target of 22.1 million tonnes compared with 21.41 million tonnes last year. Karnataka and MP account for over 13 per cent each of the country’s maize output of around 28 million tonnes.

In Karnataka, the resumption of the southwest monsoon is seen aiding the maize crop, which is in the early vegetative stage across the central parts, although there were some sporadic instances of moisture stress, sources said. In Maharashtra, the acreage is down at 3.9 lh as of July 9 compared with 7.23 lh in the year-ago period. Rajasthan has also witnessed sluggish planting due to the delayed monsoon, and the coverage is lower at 4.2 lh (5.84 lh). Acreage in UP and Punjab remains similar to last year , while it is lower in Bihar and Gujarat.

Published on July 14, 2021

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