India’s maize output to rise 5 per cent despite lower acreage: USDA

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates India’s maize production for 2017/18 to be at 27.2 million tonnes, up nearly 5 per cent from last year.

The increase is due to the favourable monsoon and the increased use of hybrid seeds, which has boosted yields in the main maize producing areas.

The use of hybrid seeds has risen since 2000.

Today, almost 70 per cent of maize plantings are of the hybrid seed variety. Harvested area, however has declined to an estimated 9.6 million hectares, 3 per cent lower than last year.

The decrease in acreage is due to lower domestic prices and farmers switching to higher return crops such as rice and pulses.

Maize is grown in both the kharif and rabi seasons, but the kharif season accounts for 72 percent of the total production.

During the 2017 kharif season, Madhya Pradesh, the largest producer, exceeded the government planting target. The other major producers. Karnataka, Maharashtra and Rajasthan, barely met their targets.

Shekhar Ghosh is consulting editor, He has edited and written for publications like Business India, Business Standard, Business Today, Outlook and many other international publications. He can be reached at


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