Nearly seven lakh metric tonnes of maize procured at an estimated cost of `948 crore may go to waste if the government fails to take a decision on its disposal within two months, said Law and Parliamentary Affairs and Animal Husbandry Minister T B Jayachandra on Tuesday.
The maize was procured four months ago to bail out farmers following crash in its price.
“The shelf life of maize is just six months. If it is not disposed of soon we won’t have any option except to use it as manure,” he said.
However, the silver lining, according to him, is that there is a good demand for maize abroad due to failure of the crop.
The Centre’s now has to take an immediate decision on exporting maize since the state cannot do so on its own.
“We are optimistic that the Centre will take a decision at the earliest. We do not want the maize to go waste, but we are in a helpless situation”, the Minister told Express.
Usually, the government buys cereals and pulses procured by various states once in three or six months.
A high-level meeting held in Bangalore on Monday decided to ask the Centre to allow the state to auction the stock and reimburse loss incurred by the state.
It was also resolved to write to the Centre seeking urgent attention as time is running out.
The stock, stored in open ground, is exposed to sun and dust. Hence, any further delay means it is going to rot, he added.
“We were not sitting idle in the last two months. The budget for 2014-15 was presented in February followed by the budget session. Subsequently, the code of conduct came into force following the announcement of the Lok Sabha elections. Recently, the Election Commission relaxed the rules that enabled the government to hold review meetings,” Jayachandra said.
The government decided procure maize from farmers at `1,310 per quintal against the Minimum Support Price (MSP) of `1,175 as its price fell to `1,000-1,050 per quintal.
Maize is cultivated on 11.65 lakh hectares in kharif season across the state.
Not First Time
In early 2000, several tonnes of maize, onion and potato procured by Hubli-Dharwad district administration following fall in prices of the crops went waste due to delay in disposal.
The huge stock of maize stored in government and private godowns rotted. Subsequently, the entire stock had to be dumped.
Major Maize Growing Dists
Davangere, Haveri, Shimoga, Chitradurga, Belgaum and Hubli-Dharwad districts.