Read full article by Parshant Krar@Economic Times PC: ET Bureau
CHANDIGARH: Bajra or pearl millet prices have increased as demand from export market as well as domestic consumption has fuelled demand for the cereal after rains impacted harvest in the previous season.
Spot prices have increased up to 20% in the past two months and are currently Rs 200-400 per quintal more than the minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 2,000 in most parts of the country.
Demand for bajra is increasing from European countries and Gulf nations where the millet is used mainly as bird feed. Futures contracts of bajra for delivery in February are up 2% on the NCDEX.
“The demand from export market has been steady in the last six-eight months and it is keeping the prices over the MSP,” said Narayanan Swami, director at Rajasthan-based PP Agro India Limited.
Domestic demand for bajra, touted as cereal of the poor, is increasing among higher income categories owing to growing awareness of its health benefits. “The fact that the millet is grown in rain-fed areas with minimal use of pesticides and fertilisers is also boosting its human consumption,” said ..
Traders attributed the increase in bajra prices also to the spillover effect of increased prices of maize and soyabean.
Bird feed prices are up 50% year-on-year in the last three quarters of this financial year, said Harish Mittal, CEO of SS Poultry in Haryana’s Barwala.
Experts said farmers had opted for alternative crops like moong due to better remuneration in the previous season. “Low remuneration in bajra is shifting farmers to alternative crops such as guar and moong. The cost of bajra cultivation is rising and prices need to move upward to make farmers stick to cultivation of bajra,” said Chatra Ram Mahiya, CEO of Zusak Exim Pvt Limited, Mumbai. He said the MSP barely covers the cost of bajra cultivation