In wake of the decline in the price of maize, the Karnataka State Agriculture Price Commission has recommended that the State government open procurement centres to purchase the produce at the minimum support price (MSP).
The price of maize was ₹2,200 per quintal in the open market till September 20, but has come down to ₹1,600 now, a decline of around 28% in 60 days.
In Karnataka, maize is cultivated on more than 10 lakh hectares. By the first week of November, the price came down to ₹1,850 per quintal and is now further down by ₹250.
Maize had fetched good price last year as there was a decline in the yield owing to moisture stress caused by drought. The decline in the price now has come as a rude shock for the farmers who were expecting lucrative returns.
Owing to the copious rain the maize-growing areas received in October, the crop in some parts suffered fungal infection, resulting in de-colouring of the grains.
Shivamogga district, where maize was cultivated on more than 55,000 hectares this kharif season, received 343mm rain in October against the normal rain of 146 mm during this period.
Kariyappa, a farmer from Ambaragoppa in Shikaripur taluk, told The Hindu that even if there were a few de-coloured grains in the consignment, middlemen and merchants would quote a low price citing quality and grading issues.
A maize merchant from Shikaripur, who purchases the produce from farmers and sells it to poultry feed production units in Andhra Pradesh, said that owing to good rain in some areas there has been an enhancement in the yield and the arrival of the produce to the market resulting in the decline in the price.
H.R. Basavarajappa, honourary president of the Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha, said that the State government should immediately open the procurement centres to arrest further slump in the price.
If the farmers direct their produce towards the procurement centre, the merchants would start to make purchases at price higher than the MSP, he said.
Hanumanagouda Belagurki, chairman of Karnataka Agriculture Prices Commission, said that he had received complaints from the maize growers in Haveri, Davangere, and Shivamogga districts on slump in the price.
“Following this, the Commission has written a letter to the State government to come to the rescue of the growers by opening the procurement centres,” he added.