Govt to buy maize at MSP, raise output to meet biofuel needs | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
close_game
close_game

Govt to buy maize at MSP, raise output to meet biofuel needs

By, New Delhi
Dec 10, 2023 06:26 AM IST

The Union government has signed off on a plan to procure maize at federally fixed minimum support prices (MSP) while increasing its output and productivity by expanding the area under cultivation, as part of a strategy to meet India’s biofuels needs

The Union government has signed off on a plan to procure maize at federally fixed minimum support prices (MSP) while increasing its output and productivity by expanding the area under cultivation, as part of a strategy to meet India’s biofuels needs.

Procurement refers to the government’s purchases of food commodities at MSP — a floor price set to stave off distress sales by farmers (PTI)
Procurement refers to the government’s purchases of food commodities at MSP — a floor price set to stave off distress sales by farmers (PTI)

Maize, or corn, has emerged as a strategically important commercial crop in the country because of its use in making ethanol, which is blended with petrol. It is also a major poultry feed.

Unlock exclusive access to the latest news on India's general elections, only on the HT App. Download Now! Download Now!

The new measure will help boost farmers’ income and ensure that a government-mandated programme to achieve 20% blending of petrol with ethanol by 2025-26 is on track amid an anticipated dip in sugar supplies this year, food secretary Sanjeev Chopra said on Friday.

The Centre plans to sell the maize procured by its to distilleries making ethanol. Procurement refers to the government’s purchases of food commodities at MSP — a floor price set to stave off distress sales by farmers. The minimum rate for maize for 2023-24 stands 2,090 a quintal.

Biofuels such as ethanol are made primarily from sugarcane and grains, such as rice and maize. Nearly 25% of the country’s ethanol is made from cane juice, while another 50% comes from molasses. The rest comes from grains, such as rice and maize.

“A major plan is afoot to procure maize at MSP, increase its production and raise its productivity in collaboration with the Indian Institute of Maize Research and the agriculture ministry,” the most senior official in the food ministry said. Currently, India produces nearly 36 million tonnes of corn a year.

The official said a high-level interministerial committee overseeing the matter had given its “in principle” approval for the maize-procurement initiative. Bihar is one of India’s largest maize-growing states.

Under the programme, newer technologies and high-yielding varieties are being developed. New areas where rice is grown will also be brought under maize cultivation, the official cited above said.

Two state-backed food agencies, NAFED and NCCF, apart from primary agricultural cooperative societies, will be involved in purchasing corn from farmers. The procured maize will be offered to distilleries at MSP plus market taxes, while all incidental costs will be borne by the food department.

“The idea is that gradually, ethanol from sugarcane will plateau and grains such as maize will be used,” petroleum secretary Pankaj Jain said.

The Centre on Friday announced a new set of measures aimed at thwarting inflation in food articles, prohibiting the use of sugarcane juice or syrup for ethanol making amid an anticipated sharp fall in sugarcane output due to a patchy summer monsoon and drought in some states.

The decision to stop the sale of cane juice for ethanol making will not impact India’s ambitious push to achieve 20% ethanol blending with petrol by 2025-26, a target known as E20, said Jain.

Tell us what your First Vote will stand for in a short video & get a chance to be featured on HT’s social media handles. Click here to know more!

Get Current Updates on India News, Elections News, Lok Sabha Election 2024 Live, Weather Today along with Latest News and Top Headlines from India and around the world.
SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Share this article
  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
    author-default-90x90

    Zia Haq reports on public policy, economy and agriculture. Particularly interested in development economics and growth theories.

SHARE
Story Saved
Live Score
OPEN APP
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Monday, May 27, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On