Maize is the only agricultural crop in Bihar whose productivity is higher than the national average. Bihar produces 4.11 tonne of maize from a hectare compared to the national average of about 2.5 tonne. The state has witnessed a maize revolution over past few years with the help of hybrid seeds.
In the four years ending 2012/13, Bihar’s maize production rose 66 per cent to 2.83 million tonne, productivity (output from each hectare) increased 51 per cent to 4.11 tones while the area under the crop rose ten per cent to 0.68 million hectares. Hybrid seed production and field demonstrations for farmers has triggered a maize revolution in the state.
With state productivity much higher than national productivity, area under cultivation is expected to rise as the availability of good quality maize offers significant opportunities for entrepreneurs in the state. However, the level of processing in the state is presently quite insignificant. There is thus a large opportunity for maize processing units which can be set up for making a range of products. Agribusiness giant Cargill’s Indian arm procures 2,00,000 to 3,00,000 tonne of maize annually from Bihar, says B K Anand, the Director and Business Head (Grains and Oilseeds Crush) for Cargill India. The Indian unit of Cargill handles a million tonnes of the grain annually.
According to the Directorate of Maize Research, a body under the Agriculture Ministry, the quality of the maize produce has improved steadily over the last few years. “Increased participation of national players and a few multinationals has led to a structural change in the maize ecosystem in Bihar,” it said in a report in 2012.
Leading agri commodity exchange NCDEX has also been active in the state. NCDEX had launched maize futures contract in 2005 with Nizamabad in Andhra Pradesh as a basis centre. However, with the growing importance of Bihar as a maize producer it recently launched maize rabi futures with Gulabbagh in Bihar as a basis centre. Samir Shah, MD and CEO at NCDEX said their operations in Bihar have improved price discovery for maize farmers.
Source: Business Today