Maize cultivation not viable in Rabi, say experts

Adverse conditions in the country for its cropping and storage, officials tell CM

A meeting, presided by Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao to discuss the viability of maize cultivation in Rabi came to a conclusion that it was impossible for farmers to fetch minimum support price from the crop in Telangana.

The situation warranted that only those farmers who were willing to earn however low income could face the risk of cultivating the crop, a release said after the meeting that was attended by Agriculture Minister S. Niranjan Reddy, Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar, Chief Advisor to government Rajeev Sharma and others. Agricultural experts and officials informed Mr. Rao that it was not at all advisable for farmers to go for maize cultivation in the State in view of adverse conditions in the country for the crop and storage. The policies of Central government saw to it that the maize farmers were not assured of MSP.

The policies enabling people to sell and buy agricultural produce anywhere in the country and steep reduction of import duties on produce were the bane of poor farmers. A release said the buffer stock of maize in global market after meeting the consumption levels was 28 crore tonnes. India needed 2.42 lakh crore tonnes of maize for its consumption annually, but the available quantity was 3.53 lakh crore tonnes. In effect, the additional stock available was 1.11 lakh crores tonnes.

Another 4.10 lakh crore tonnes of maize produced in Kharif this year will arrive at market yards shortly. It was grown over 2.04 crore acres in the country. Therefore, the country was assured of maize not only for this year but next year, the officials explained Mr.Rao.

The situation turned worse with the decision of the Centre to import another five lakh tonnes of maize from other countries. The Centre reduced the import duty on maize from 50 to 35 per cent. On account of just 15 per cent import duty, the maize farmers were pushed to a situation as not to expect MSP.

The Agriculture Minister intervened to inform that the agriculture officials held meetings with poultry industry to ensure a reasonable price for maize farmers in these circumstances. However, the feed for chicken was available at very low prices in Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh. Hence the poultry industry was not prepared to buy feed from farmers of Telangana.

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