NABARANGPUR:Even as maize crops have been harvested, purchase centres for the cash crop are yet to be opened in the district. The district administration had earlier announced to open three such centres from November 1 at Raighar, Umerkote and Jhariam where maize is grown in a large scale.
A decade back, farmers of Nabarangpur district had taken up maize farming as it required less water for irrigation and meant more profit than the traditional paddy. Umerkote emerged as the main maize producing region of Odisha. Over the years maize growers have been badly affected as there is no proper market.
This year, maize was cultivated in 38,000 hectares (ha) of land in comparison to last year’s 60,000 ha. The cultivation area came down in wake of procurement issues last year.
Sources said from the 60,000 ha, 30 lakh quintals of maize was produced but the Regulated Market Committee did not procure the crop. As a result, farmers were forced to sell their produce at less than the minimum support price to traders. In the absence of marketing linkage by the Government, a large number of farmers decided to shift to other crops from maize this year.
Last month, the minimum support price was fixed at `1,325 per quintal and it was also decided that the produce would be sold through auction method by private parties at the three purchase centres. Farmers said if the purchase centres had been opened, private agencies could have auctioned the maize produce. “This would have helped us get more money than the Government-fixed price depending on the quality of the crop,” said Ramesh Pradhan, a farmer.
Officials in the district administration said the purchase centres have not been opened till date as no traders are evincing interest in buying maize.
On the other hand, there has been no headway into online trading of maize grown in the district. Last year, NCDEX Spot Exchange Ltd (NSPOT), a leading exchange for daily electronic trading of agricultural commodities, had proposed the Odisha Government to provide online trading facility in select mandis for agricultural commodities. The spot exchange provides the farmers across the country with an option to sell their produce to a trader based at any place using its facility. It had identified Umerkote market for starting the pilot trading facility in maize.
The facility, however, could not see the light of the day.