Maize (corn) exports from India rebounded sharply in 2021-22 to top $1-billion mark after a gap of seven years.
Shipments had touched a nine-year low of $142 million in 2019-20 before staging a sharp rebound over the last two years on surging demand for the coarse cereal from South and South-East Asian countries such as Bangladesh, Vietnam and Malaysia.
According to Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) data, maize shipments for 2021-22 stood at $1.02 billion — up 61 per cent from $634 million the previous fiscal.
Lower supplies from South American producers such as Argentina and Brazil over the past two years worked in favour of Indian exporters, resulting in higher demand from consuming countries in South-East Asia such as Vietnam and Malaysia among others.
India’s maize exports have jumped from 3.7 lakh tonnes (lt) in 2019-20 to 36.90 lt in 2021-22. In the current financial year, though shipments were up 21 per cent during April at 2.51 lt over the same period last year, overall Indian exports may slow down on sluggish demand from Bangladesh and Vietnam and a rebound in supplies from South American producers — Brazil and Argentina.
Bangladesh has emerged as the largest buyer of Indian maize over the past two years, displacing Nepal. Bangladesh, which bought less than 10,000 tonnes from India in 2019-20, bought over 15 lt over the last two fiscals.
Similarly, Vietnam — which bought 1,893 tonnes in 2019-20 — stepped up its purchases from India significantly to 4.98 lt in 2020-21. Further, Vietnam more than doubled it purchases to11.8 lt last fiscal. Malaysia, which bought around 1.12 lt during 2020-21, more than doubled its purchases during 2021-22 to 2.66 lt, while Nepal also stepped up its purchases to over 5.87 lt.
India’s maize production has witnessed a steady increase over the past decade from around 21.76 million tonnes in 2011-12 to over 33 million tonnes in 2021-22, as per the third advance estimates. For the current kharif cropping season, the Centre has set a maize production target of 23.10 million tonnes higher than 22.65 million tonnes produced during the season last year. The MSP for maize has been increased to ₹1,962 per quintal for 2022-23 compared with ₹1,870 in the previous year.
“The Indian maize turned competitive during 2020-21 after the spread of Covid, which led to demand destruction in the domestic market. At the same time, supplies shrunk from South America with bad weather hurting the production in the region resulting in higher demand from Vietnam and Malaysia among other countries,” said Indrajit Paul, Senior Manager Commodity Research at Origo E-Mandi.
However, Paul said the demand has slowed down in the current financial year from Bangladesh and Vietnam, which may result in lower shipments. “We expect the maize shipments to come down by half a million tonnes this year,” Paul said.