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Maize Supplies Running Short in India

by 5m Editor
28 August 2009, at 7:33am

INDIA - Maize prices have risen sharply in the last month due to strong demand for poultry during the festival season.

Due to rising demand from the poultry industry and shortage of supplies, maize prices have increased significantly during last one month, reports Financial Express of India.

The poultry industry, which depends on maize supply as it is a key ingredient in feed, has been feeling pinch because of spurt in the prices.

According to Poultry Federation of India (PFI), the wholesale maize prices in Delhi has increased to 11,000 rupees (INR) per tonne from INR 9,400 in the last two months, an increase of 17 per cent.

Poultry feed prices, which is a mixture corn and soybean meal has also increased to INR 19,000 per tonne from INR 16,500 in the last two months, an increase of 15 per cent.

"The current spurt in the corn prices is because of lower supplies from key growing states like Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka," Ricky Thapar, PFI treasurer, told Financial Express.

Describing the rise in maize prices as 'temporary', an official at the Directorate of Maize Research (DMR), under Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) said due to decline in paddy sowing because of deficient rainfall in many parts of the country, farmers have sown maize as alternate crop because it is less water intensive and the supplies would improve over the next few months.

Kharif maize production constitutes about 80 per cent of the total maize output estimated at 18.48 million tonne during 2008-09.

"The prices have been rising because of spurt in demand from the poultry industry and the production is expected to rise this year," Sain Dass, project director at the DMR said.

According to an estimate, around 60 per cent of the maize output in the country is used as poultry and cattle feed, while 12 per cent is used by the starch industry. Nearly 22 per cent of maize produced in the country is being used for human consumption, which has seen a rapid growth during last few years.

Due to the increases in poultry feed costs, the prices of broiler chicken and eggs are expected go up just prior to festivals seasons.

"Although farmers have not hiked broiler prices but if the feed prices do not decline soon, the prices are expected to rise," Mr Thapar told Financial Express. Due to rising demand from the industry, many farmers in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh have shifted to maize cultivation from other coarse grains like jowar and bajra because of lucrative returns.

Meanwhile, according to the latest data from the agriculture ministry, maize area during the current kharif sowing has been estimated at around 6.8 million hectares as on 20 August – up from around 6.7 million hectares reported during the same period last year.