On the importance of maize cultivation amid COVID-19 pandemic, SK Malhotra, Agriculture Commissioner, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Government of India recently said, “Maize, known as queen of cereals is the most important crop after rice and wheat.”
Addressing a webinar on ‘Covid Impact on Maize Value Chain – Challenges and Prospects’ organised by FICCI, Malhotra said, “Farmers are happy to cultivate maize. If there is a shortage in the production of maize, it will affect the poultry industry as well, because poultry is the biggest market for maize farmers. Poultry industry should follow cluster approach for market linkage with maize farmers and farmer producer organisations (FPOs).”
Speaking on the occasion, Vivek Aggarwal, Joint Secretary (Crops & IT) & CEO-PM KISAN, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Govt of India said, “It’s imperative to assess the cumulative demand and accordingly make a plan for increase in area and production of maize.”
Addressing the webinar, Dr Ajai Kumar, Head – Government and Industry Affairs, South Asia, Corteva Agri Science, said, “Maize is an important crop for India as over 15 million Indian farmers are engaged in maize cultivation. There is a need for a proper regulatory framework so that maize production grows over the years.”
He said, “One of the major cause of concerns for maize farmers in the last two years has been the invasive pest Fall Armyworm (FAW) which has the potential to cause significant damage to maize output.” Dr Ajai highlighted that in the absence of suitable pest management, yield losses may be as high as 50 percent. He further added that regulators needed to adopt proactive approach for SAT (Seed Application Technology) solutions against FAW to support farmers.
Amit Sachdev, South Asia representative, US Grains Council said, “Poultry industry is the biggest user of corn and needs support for expansion via value addition, processing and availability of reasonably priced corn.”
Unupom Kausik, President, National Collateral Management Services (NCML) shared his perspective on making Indian maize supply chain more efficient and competitive.
Chirag Gupta, Co-Founder & CEO 4700BC Popcorn also shared his perspective on developing Popcorn Maize capability in India. B Soundararajan, MD, Suguna Holdings mentioned that better procurement system and technologies are required to reduce cost of production of maize.