Coarse cereals millets, maize and barley are produced mostly in rain fed condition and in chronic drought prone areas. Maize output accounts for more than 40% of total production. Maize production is expected to rise 15% to touch 16 million tonne from 13.9 million tonne a year-ago, a senior farm ministry official told Reuters.
Production of other coarse cereals like sorghum (jowar), pearl millet (bajra), finger millet (ragi) and barley are also expected to rise between 15-30%, the official, who did not want to be identified, said.
The countrys highest coarse cereals production of 37.6 million tonne 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 in its coarse grain forecast, estimating a record world production of 1,051 million tonne in 2007-08. Maize prices in India firmed in the last one year by more than a quarter to Rs 700 per 100 kg on rising demand from the biofuel and poultry sector, 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.
The 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.