Govt to support industry and farmers to increase maize production: Agriculture minister

Govt to support industry and farmers to increase maize production: Agriculture minister
To meet the increasing domestic demand of maize while addressing the environmental concerns, interventions need to be done at various levels of the value chain with cumulative efforts made by all the stakeholders involved

Addressing the 8th edition of ‘India Maize Summit 2022’, organised by FICCI, Minister for Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Government of India, Narendra Singh Tomar Thursday said that the popularity of maize was not only growing globally but also in India with its diversified use in many sectors including poultry and ethanol production. The government, under crop diversification, is promoting farmers to increase maize production through various initiatives. “The MSP of maize has been increased by 43 per cent in last 8 years and with the increase in production the farmers are also getting benefited from this,” he added.

Tomar also assured the industry of the government’s support to boost the maize sector. “Agriculture is the backbone of India and it has helped the country during every crisis including Covid-19. During this time, the increase in export of agriculture products is also very encouraging,” he added.

Speaking on the role of India’s agriculture sector, Tomar stated that during the current Russia-Ukraine crisis, the government is working to ensure the export of wheat to meet the global demand. It is a matter of great pride that our farmers’ produce is being used to meet the global requirements, he emphasised.

The agriculture sector, he said needs a lot of investment and there is a need to integrate high-end technologies to improve the sector. “Time has come for industry and farmers to work together so that requirements of both are met thus benefiting the sector and the country along with the generation of new employment opportunities,” Tomar asserted.

He also said that the government, in the last few years has taken a series of policy reforms to benefit the industry as well as improving farmers’ livelihood.

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Speaking on the occasion, TR Kesavan, Chairman, FICCI National Agriculture Committee & Group President, TAFE said, “Maize holds immense potential for food and nutritional security. It provides the right avenue for crop diversification and also for increasing farmers’ income, especially for small and marginal farmers in the rainfed areas.”

Earlier during the inaugural session, Amrendra Pratap Singh, Minister of Agriculture, Govt of Bihar said that maize was one of the most important food crops in the world and provides food security to the majority of developing nations. In India, maize is developing as the third most important crop after wheat and rice. Bihar contributes to over 9 per cent of total maize production in India and is the fifth largest producer of maize after Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Maharashtra, he added.

Singh further stated that the state government was working on various policies to ensure an increase in maize production along with increasing farmers’ income. “The aim of the government is to develop Bihar as a maize exporting state. The government is also working on policies for promoting investment by the private sector to further boost the set-up of maize-based industries in the state. “I invite the private sector to set up maize related industries in Bihar and the state government would provide the required support through various policy initiatives,” he added.

Ronald Verdonk, Minister – Counsellor for Agriculture Affairs, US Embassy in India said, “Today’s technology has allowed farmers to increase the production. With the increased demand coming from the poultry sector, the Indian maize sector is likely to gain benefits.

Rahoul Sawani, President of South Asia, Corteva Agriscience said, ”Technology and innovation in maize not only help us to anticipate the challenges faced by farmers but also address them and provide sustainable solutions. I believe the Government and private sector players can collectively address the challenges and pave the way towards long-term, sustainable economic growth for the agriculture sector.”

Sunjay Vuppuluri, National Head -Food & Agribusiness Strategic Advisory & Research (FASAR) said, “Given that the domestic maize demand is growing much faster than production, there is an immediate need to identify interventions that need to be taken at various levels of maize supply chain and co-create public-private solutions for ensuring a sustainable supply of maize.”

FICCI-YES Bank report ‘Indian Maize Sector – Securing Supply Sustainably’ was also released during the event.

Key highlights of the report

India’s maize consumption is projected to increase to 33.8 million metric tonnes in 2030 with a major contribution of industrial usage. To meet the ever-increasing domestic demand of maize while addressing the environmental concerns, interventions need to be done at various levels of the value chain with cumulative efforts made by all the stakeholders involved. Five key action areas which have been identified post discussion with the industry to ensure a sustainable supply of maize for all end users are

1. Enhancing the maize production ecosystem
2. Making post-harvest interventions more robust
3. Transformation of storage and logistics infrastructure
4. Facilitation of domestic supply and international trade of maize
5.  Upgradation of processing infrastructure

These actions if implemented in a co-creation mode with a strong inter-institutional partnership as well as a public-private partnership will ensure a sustainable supply of maize to meet the future demand.

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