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Maize exports may drop 15%

Despite drop in price over last year, Indian maize remains uncompetitive in export market

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The crop is expected to increase on a year ago due to more area. However, this may not turn into higher realisations in terms of foreign exchange. Despite a drop in prices on a year ago, maize remained uncompetitive in the exports market as prices in the global market were lower, said an official in the Agricultural and Products Export Development Authority (APEDA).

While the country had exported three million tonnes during March-December, one million are projected to be exported in the rest of the financial year. A year ago’s exports were five million; a drop of up to 15 per cent is seen by the APEDA.

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Traders expected a higher decrease as they go by the crop season, September to October.

More-competitive prices of Argentina and Brazil’s exports to southeast Asia (the major consumer) have left Indian maize behind.

According to experts, there was a price differential of five per cent to seven per cent for importers buying from rivals.

But as the winter crop is yet to arrive, the scenario may change.

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However, the president of All India Manufacturers’ Association, Vishal Majithia, says the arrival of the winter crop will not pull down the prices further. “Prices had touched Rs 1,650-1,700 a quintal in two years, putting the sector in a crisis. This year, prices were Rs 1,250-Rs 1,300 a quintal. This is conducive.”

The crop, he said, would meet the requirement for the next seven months and the subsequent one will arrive in October. “So, the probability of a further correction was bleak.”

The consistently high prices in two years and the mechanisation of production practices had motivated the farmers to grow maize, said Paviter Pal Singh Pangli, a farmer from Punjab.

The president of Indian Maize Development Association, Sain Dass, said the area had increased across India. The extended monsoon may cause some setback, resulting in high moisture content. This may affect exports but the domestic consumers can buy maize at lower prices this year.

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