Maize Mess Hits Farmers

While maize production has crossed more than 7 lakh tones in the state, farmers are facing problem of plenty as they are not able to sell their products with decline of price in the market.

Large number of farmers in major maize growing areas of the state is facing tough time as they are forced to sell their products much less than the Minimum Support Price (MSP).

While MSP is Rs.1425 per quintal, they are selling less than Rs.1100 per quintal and losing heavily.

Districts of Nabarangpur, Koraput, Rayagada, gajapati, Ganjam, Mayurbhanj and Keonjhar are the areas, where maize is produced more than 7 lakh tones per annum.

Earlier, maize production was much less and as the Department of Agriculture took up various promotional programs to boost production of commercial crops, instead of paddy. So the production has gone up.

However, as the consumption in the household level is low, though in hilly regions, maize is a major food security item.

The farmers prefer selling away their products in the market as it is a commercial crop; however there is a glut in the market.

According to market estimates more than 3 lakh tones of maize is available for sale in these districts and hardly there are many purchasers.

That is why the farmers are offered much less price than the MSP announced by the Government.

Nabarangpur, Kalahandi and Koraput are the three major districts, where maize is produced in a big way.

Market price of maize has been witnessing high volatility and substantially low prices during the peak season due to several factors.

And decline in sale price of maize has led the farmers into distress condition and in future area of maize cultivation will come down, apprehend officials of the Department of Agriculture.
Both Nabarangpur and Kalahandi district officials have reported decline in coverage of maize during these years.

Take for example, in Kalahandi district, during the Kharif season of 2015, maize was grown in 19,669 hectares (ha). But it reduced to 13,058 ha in 2016 and 11780 ha in 2017.

Similarly, in Nabarangpur as distress selling occurs in maize, people are opting for plantation of Eucalyptus as Mangalam Timbers, making medium density fiber boards, consumes it as raw material.

However, planting Eucalyptus will have long term adverse impact on the soil health of the area.

While situation is grave there is hardly any intervention by the Odisha State Agriculture Marketing Board(OSAMB).

OSAMB is the organization, which needs to intervene through MSP to ensure the farmers at least receive the cost price.

As the maize selling price is showing downtrend and hurting farmers, the Neighboring State Marketing Boards are making market interventions and helping out the farmers.

In Andhra Pradesh and Telengana these agriculture marketing organizations are actively participating in the market intervention through MSP.

However OSAMB and Regional Market Committees (RMC)s are not intervening, which is worsening the situation, admit officials.

Farmers Organizations have urged the State Government to direct OSAMB to make market intervention and help out the distressed farmers.

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