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Fresh rabi maize crop hits markets in Bihar, prices fall

Thursday, May 21 2020


Supply of the fresh rabi maize crop has started in markets across Bihar, leading to a slump in prices, traders said. Daily, an average of 6,000-8,000 bags (1 bag = 100 kg) of the crop are reaching Purnea, a key spot market, local trader Sehdev Jaiswal said. In 2019-20 (Jul-Jun), the maize crop in Bihar is seen at 3.5 mln tn, nearly 10% higher on year.   "With the fresh crop hitting markets, prices have declined sharply in most markets across Bihar," Jaiswal said. Currently, the fresh crop in Bihar is being quoted at 1,400-1,450 rupees per 100 kg, about 300 rupees lower a year ago. The minimum support price of maize is 1,760 rupees per 100 kg.


Prices of maize have slumped over the past few months due to a decline in demand from major bulk buyers, especially poultry feed makers. The poultry sector, a key consumer, has refrained from buying the crop as retail demand for products such as broilers and eggs has taken a hit, traders said. Around 30-40% of the overall animal feed is derived from maize, an official with a multinational company said.

"Rumours that chickens and eggs are carriers of coronavirus, hit demand for poultry products and led to a slump in prices. So the requirement of maize as a coarse grain has fallen," said Niket Chheda, director at P.V. Sons Corn Milling Co.An estimated larger crop–both the kharif and rabi–is also seen impacting prices, Patna-based trader Avinash Kumar said. According to the farm ministry's second advance estimates, India is likely to produce 28.08 mln tn of maize this year, compared with 27.72 mln tn last year.Trade estimates peg maize output at 23.0-23.5 mln tn this year, higher than last year's 21.5-22.0 mln tn. However, the industry estimate is still much lower than the usual crop size of 27.0-28.0 mln tn.Prices of maize are likely to fall further in the coming days as demand for the crop from northeastern states is low due to an outbreak of African Swine Fever in Assam, Kumar said.  Over 13,000 pigs have been infected with the virus in Assam, putting demand for animal feed at risk in the region, he said. Maize is a major component of animal feed in the region and a significant quantity of the coarse grain is sent from Bihar, he added.




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