Purnia/New Delhi: Amid the economic crisis posed by coronavirus outbreak, maize farmers in Bihar too are at the receiving end as they have failed to get remunerative prices for the produce this year. Farmers have been forced to sell maize at half the prices compared with last year.
It comes at a time of record production of maize, but absence of any demand from the industry.
Palat Prasad Yadav, a resident of Maharajganj in Madhepura district, said he had sold his maize crop for Rs 1,050 per quintal five days ago, compared with Rs 1,600 to Rs 2,200 per quintal price prevailing last year.
“Those who cultivated wheat are at an advantage as it is selling for Rs 1,850 to Rs 2,000 per quintal. Maize has proved to be a loss-making proposition this year as we are barely recovering our costs,” he said.
The central government had fixed Rs 1,760 per quintal as minimum support price for maize during the 2019-20 Kharif season (July-June). Bihar’s maize yield is expected to be 35 lakh tonnes, which is 10 per cent higher than the previous year.
Bihar is the only state in India where maize cultivation is taken in Rabi, Kharif and Zaid crop seasons, with the highest yield recorded in Rabi season. Kosi area in the eastern state is good for cultivation of maize.
Gulabbagh agricultural produce market in Purnia district supplies maize across the whole country through trucks and railways.
One of its leading trader, Munshi Sikandar Chaurasia, said there was lesser demand for maize this year and consequently the prices ranged between Rs 1,150 and Rs 1,200 per quintal.
Another trader Santosh Gupta said that the demand from the poultry industry was next to nothing at present while it was lukewarm from the starch industry.
Last year, the demand for maize from poultry and cattle feed industries was so high that maize had to be imported, he said.
Bihar Cooperatives Minister Rana Randhir had told IANS earlier this month that the government was considering growers’ demand for procurement of maize and pulses by government agencies.
Over 47 per cent of the maize production in the country is used by poultry feed industry, around 14 per cent by units making cattle feed and 12 per cent by the starch industry.
It is pertinent to mention here that many poultry units are lying closed amid the nationwide lockdown as the owners suffered losses due to fall in prices of poultry meat and eggs below cost price.