Mumbai: India’s coarse grain production in 2007-08 is likely to hit a record high of 39.2 million tonnes (mt) on expectations of higher maize output, officials said on 28 May 2007. Coarse cereals—millets, maize and barley—are produced mostly in rainfed conditions and in chronic drought-prone areas.
Maize output accounts for more than 40% of the total production. Its output is expected to rise 15% to touch 16mt from 13.9mt a year ago, a senior farm ministry official said.
Production of other coarse cereals such as sorghum (jowar), pearl millet (bajra), finger millet (ragi) and barley is also expected to rise between 15% and 30%, the official, who did not want to be identified, said.
The country’s highest coarse cereals production of 37.6mt was recorded in 2003-04.
Demand for maize-derived bioethanol should boost total industrial use of coarse grains by 9% in 2007-08, UN Food and Agriculture Organisation said, estimating a record world production of 1,051mt in 2007-08.
Maize prices in India firmed up in the last one year by more than a quarter to Rs700 per 100kg on rising demand from the biofuel and poultry sectors, where it is used as chicken feed.
Trader Satish Chowdhary from Sangli, a major maize hub, cited higher export demand for the price rise. “There is a supply shortage in the market and demand from overseas markets is more.”
“We are expecting a bumper crop this year,” he added.
“Maize prices are looking up globally and is expected to give good returns to farmers,” said another farm ministry official, who expected more acreage under maize this year.
In 2005-06, 7.6 million hectares were under maize cultivation in India.