After wheat and rice, the next big thrust to Indian farming is expected to come from maize (corn). For the first time, the government has a MSP for maize which is equivalent to paddy at Rs 1,350 per quintal for the 2013 crop to encourage growers to plant more of the crop.
The crop has been included in the government’s ambitious Rs 500 crore crop diversification strategy for North Indian states of Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh.
Its exports also for the first time ever has reached a record around 5 million tonnes in 2013-14 up 24% from previous years, which has made India one of the biggest exporters of the commodity. In India maize is cultivated largely in Karnataka, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh.
“Maize I feel is a crop which could help Indian farmers in many ways and can be a good and profitable alternative to paddy,” eminent agriculture economist and Chairman of Commission for Agriculture Costs and Prices (CACP) Ashok Gulati told Business Standard.
He said government should provide some incentive other than price support mechanism to encourage farmers to grow maize as it has ready use in starch and feedmeal industries. India’s annual maize production is around 21-22 million tonnes.