New Delhi: India may lift its ban on maize exports next month if the crop has not been badly hit by floods in Bihar, but restrictions on shipments of cheaper grades of rice will continue, the Union agriculture minister said.
In July, India banned maize exports until the middle of next month after consumers said prices had risen sharply because of increasing overseas sales. But Sharad Pawar said government did not want farmers to suffer. “We have to look at farmers’ interest also. We are not interested in continuing with restrictions on maize exports.”
The government would balance the interests of farmers and consumers and take steps to avoid shortages, he said.
Floods in the key maize-growing state of Bihar have displaced more than 3 million people from their homes and destroyed 100,000ha of farmland.
“We are looking at the crop in Bihar. The Prime Minister has called a meeting today (on Friday) to assess the damage to the crop. If there is no significant damage, I don’t think there will be a problem,” Pawar said.
While the government was ready to allow maize exports, it had no plans to further ease controls on rice. India banned export of non-basmati rice in March when dwindling stocks and rising prices triggered fears of shortages.