Staff Reporter

There has been pressure on India to export more maize in the last few months

Bangalore: As the rate of inflation keeps rising, the poultry industry seems to be going through the worst period in its history. The unprecedented rise in the cost of maize and soya meal, which are essential feed ingredients for poultry, is causing them heart burn. During the past two years, the price of maize has increased from Rs. 525 a quintal to Rs. 900, and that of soya meal from Rs. 7,000 a tonne to Rs. 20,000.

“This unnatural rise is because of forward trading and speculation and hoarding of these commodities by traders and multi-national companies. This is because Argentina and Brazil, the biggest exporters of maize, have imposed heavy duties on maize exports to ensure domestic prices remain under control,” said B.R. Sainath, Zonal Chairman (Bangalore), National Egg Coordination Committee (NECC). Consequently, there has been more pressure on India to export larger quantities of maize in the last few months.

According to the United States Grain Council survey for April 2008, the trade estimates export of maize at 30 lakh tonnes in 2007-08 as against 2.7 lakh tonnes in 2006-07. The production of maize has increased from 14 million tonnes last year to 18.4 million tonnes this year. MNCs and other traders are holding back lakhs of tonnes of maize and soya meal in anticipation of exports and further increase in price, and curtailing supply to the domestic market, said Mr. Sainath. The poultry industry and thousands of maize and soya growers are affected. In the absence of a corresponding increase in farm-gate prices, farmers have suffered huge losses.