Bhubaneswar, Sept 19 (LocalWire): The state government is keen on promoting private sector investments in maize processing units to increase its production.
Though the state accounts for 7.79 lakh tonnes of maize production annually, 25% of the produce is processed in the state for value addition to the agro produce and for better monetary return.
Sizeable chunk of maize produced in the state makes its way to Andhra Pradesh, Telengana and Chhattisgarh, said senior officials of state agriculture department.
Since demand for maize and processed corn has gone up in recent years as consumers buy value-added products processed outside the state, the government is keen on inviting private entrepreneurs to set up processing units.
As per the government’s agriculture policy, they will be provided loan subsidy, inputs and other facilities.
Private players have already shown interest in major maize-producing districts like Nabarangpur and Kalahandi, they said.
There is a huge potential for the growth of maize production in the state but has largely remained untapped.
Once the state has more processing units, the cultivation rate will go up.
Currently, maize is produced in 1.93 lakh hectares.
Of the 7.79 lakh tonnes annual production, the animal feed accounts for about 2.6 lakh tonnes, they informed.
Maize produce has multiple utility value, from animal feed processing unit, value added products like corn flakes, popcorn, corn sweeteners to corn oil units.
It is a stable crop that requires less water and could be used for food by both humans and animals.
Nabarangpur district, the major maize producer accounts for almost one third of the annual produce.
Six other districts, Kalahandi, Koraput, Rayagada, Keonjhar, Kandhamal and Mayurbhanj, are other areas where maize is grown.
The state government has set up dedicated centres for maize procurement at Umerkot and Raighar blocks in Nabarangpur district to cater to the needs of both farmers and private processing unit entrepreneurs.
With the increase in processing units for churning out finished corns, the acreage of maize cultivation will go up.
As it requires less water for sustenance, farmers who do not have canal water to their agriculture fields could be encouraged in taking up the cultivation.
Focus is being laid on production of fortified maize in the form of quality protein maize.
The poultry sector in the state will also reap immense benefits by increase in maize production as it is an important ingredient of poultry feed.