Production of Maize

The total area under maize cultivation in the world is 139 million hectares with a production of 598 million MT ( mMT ). USA is the world's largest producer and exporter of maize with an out put of 240  mMT from an area of 29 million hectares. Other major producers are China (125 mMT), European Union (39 mMT), Brazil (37 mMT), Mexico (19 mMT), Argentina (14 mMT) and India (11 mMT).

Among all cereals, maize occupies the fifth largest in area, fourth largest in output and third largest in yield. India is the tenth largest producer with a production of 11.10  mMT from an area of 6.6 million ha. The average yield in India is 1.77 MT/ha which is very low as against 7 MT/ha in temperate areas of developed economies and 3.8 MT/ha of global average.

Maize is cultivated in almost all states in the country. Bihar is the leading producer in India followed by Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Himachal Pradesh. The crop is grown both in Kharif and Rabi seasons in India with a share of 85 per cent and 15 per cent, respectively.

In Himachal Pradesh, it is grown only in Kharif season, mainly under rain fed conditions. The total production of maize for the last three years in Himachal Pradesh is presented in Annexure I. The data indicate that maize is a major Kharif crop in Himachal Pradesh cultivated in an area of  3.0 lakh ha, which is over 70 per cent of the total cultivated area of 4.30 lakh ha. The average annual production in the state is over 6.0 lakh MT, which is more than 80 per cent of total Kharif production of 7.78 lakh MT of food grains.  As per a rough estimate based on a farm gate price of Rs.4/kg, the  produce of the State is worth Rs.240 crore per year.

Analysis of time series data for the last 10 years, reveal that there was not much variation in the  area under maize, but the production had suddenly declined during 2002-03 to 4.79 lakh MT from 7.68 lakh MT due to severe draught. Further, the CAGR indicates  that  there was no growth in the area and production of maize in the State due to stabilised cropping pattern. There was marginal increase in area and production in Bilaspur district. Though not very significant, a negative CAGR had been observed in all other districts, indicating that no further expansion in area is possible in these districts. The major share of production comes from Mandi, Kangra, Chamba and Sirmaur districts. The average yield of maize in Himachal Pradesh is 2.0- 2.5 MT / ha.  Sirmour district has the highest productivity of 2.3 MT / ha followed by Mandi with 2 MT / ha. The productivity level of other districts range between 1.5-2.0 MT / ha, indicating thereby the scope to improve the productivity by adopting improved agronomic practices.
2.2     Utilisation pattern of maize

The major share of maize produced in the developed countries is either utilised for production of ethanol or production of feed for livestock. Globally maize accounts for 15 per cent of the world's proteins and 19 per cent of the calories derived from food crops.

Maize produced in India is utilised for human consumption (33%), starch production (9%), poultry feed (46.5%), brewery (0.5%) and animal feed (11%). There are no precise data available on the utilisation pattern in Himachal Pradesh. However, the discussions with farmers and policy makers indicate that only 20 per cent of maize is utilised for human and animal consumption in the state. The remaining 80 per cent is supplied to the processing factories especially  poultry and animal feed plants located in other states.

 Assessment of  Market Surplus of Maize

The market surplus in respect of food grains in India as compared to other crops is quite low between 5-10 per cent.  But the consumption of maize in Himachal Pradesh for food has declined over a period of time. The use of maize in daily diet has been replaced by wheat and rice. The shift  in consumption pattern is attributed to the increase in purchasing power of the local people and prevalent public distribution system of Government.


Maize is one of the staple foods of poor families. Traditionally, the grain is converted into flour in mills for making bread. Immature cobs are roasted and eaten all over the country. It is an important raw material for animal and poultry feed  and corn flakes manufacturing units. But the quantity of maize utilised by these units is limited as the existing  units are of small scale nature. They make only a few products having limited demand. Hence, an alternative large scale unit which can process a large quantity of maize to different value added products is required to be set up. 

Methods of Maize Processing

Maize is usually processed by two distinct processes, namely wet milling and dry milling.   Dry milling produces grits, corn flour and minimum amount of corn meal. The technology has been standardised by Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI), Mysore. The technical know how is available with CFTRI on price. The service for turn key project is also available with the institute. Dry milling units have a crushing capacity of 10 MT/day with a project cost of Rs.20 lakh. Such units can be set up any where in the state depending upon the availability of raw material, power and suitable land.

World Scenario

There has been a positive trend during the past two decade in the wet milling industry. Corn has been the major source of starch (83%) followed by potato (6%), Cassava (6%), wheat (4%) and rice (1%). Maize is utilised mainly for ethanol production in the developed countries like US and EU, whereas in the rest of the world, it is either used as a staple human food or manufacture of starch and its derivatives.


The global production of starch from all sources was 48.5 mMT in the year 2000. US with  the largest starch industry contributes 51 per cent followed by EU (17%) and the rest by others. During the same period 39.4 mMT of starch was derived from maize, whereas potato and wheat contributed 2.6 and 4.1 mMT, respectively.

The world demand for starch products is growing at an annual rate of 4 per cent. The demand for starch syrups is higher than dry starches in developed countries, whereas in developing countries, the situation is reverse. Due to the steady growing demand, the total world output of dry starches and syrups were estimated to reach 71 mMT and 37  mMT, respectively.

EU is the major exporter of both native and modified starches, followed by US and Thailand. The largest starch consumers are US, EU, China and India. The world per capita demand for starch is 8.4 kg/annum, whereas India's per capita demand is 0.4 kg/annum.

Indian Scenario

The wet milling industry in India is limited to certain pockets such as Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Karnataka and Chattisgarh. There are about 17 wet milling units with a crushing capacity of about 3400 MT of maize/day.


The starch is the main product of a maize processing unit, which is consumed in various other industries like food, pharmaceuticals, textiles, paper, hotels and restaurants, etc. The other products include Gluten, Germ, Fibre (husk) and Corn Steep Liquor. Gluten has  great demand in animal feed industry because of its high protein content (70%). Germ is expressed to extract germ oil which is a low cholesterol containing edible oil. Fibre, mainly the husk, is used by animal feed manufacturers. It has demand in wet form itself for animal feed. Corn Steep Liquor is one of the substrates for culture media for manufacturing of antibiotics and other microbial production systems.

 In India, Mumbai, Delhi, Ahmedabad and Kolkata are the major markets for processed maize  products. Other important markets include Bhopal, Hyderabad, Chandigarh, Lucknow, Bangalore etc. Most of the starch manufacturers of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Punjab, etc., have their marketing offices in Mumbai. Hence, Ahmedabad and Mumbai are the major trading centres for corn starch in India.

Maize processors directly market their products to the consumers like pharmaceutical industries, hotels, textiles, paper industries, etc. and through traders as well. Most of them have their marketing offices in metros and big cities for direct sale. They also sell through trading agencies as well. These traders restrict marketing of the products of one or a few companies and prefer to procure different maize products from a single supplier. Therefore, it is advisable for a maize processor to have processing facilities for starch and its derivatives like liquid glucose, dextrose monohydrate, etc. Also, different industries require different types of  starch and the processor should be able to meet their demand to compete in the market. Starch and Gluten have good export potential as well. India exports these products to Sri Lanka, South East Asian countries, Bangladesh and South Africa.

The consumption of starch in Himachal is very limited because of slow industrial development and its requirement for food and hotel industry is met from other states. Nearly 25 pharmaceutical units have been set up at Baddi in Solan district and each of them consumes nearly 4-5 MT of starch per annum, which comes to nearly 200 MT of starch requirement per year. Further, Dabur India has set up a manufacturing unit of Glucose from Dextrose Mono Hydrate (DMH). The DMH is obtained from maize starch through a series of process including Liquefaction, Incubation, Filtration, Ion Exchange, Evaporation, Crystallization and Drying. Currently, this unit purchases about 20 MT of DMH per day from maize processing units of Gujarat and Punjab. Its annual requirement of this product is 2000 MT.  A down stream DMH manufacturing unit can be set up easily attached to a starch manufacturing unit. Similarly, Liquid Glucose (LG)  also has good demand in India and a LG manufacturing unit can also be set up along with a starch manufacturing unit from maize. In addition, there are a few textile manufacturing units located in the state which require low grade starch. This demand is being met from Ahmedabad and Mumbai. The procurement price of such units goes up due to the addition of  transportation cost of Rs.2.0 to Rs.2.5 per kg of starch. Further, if the starch units are set up in the state, they will get  exemption from excise duty and sales tax to the tune of about 18-20  per cent. Hence the maize processing unit if set up in the State will not face any difficulty in marketing the main product, the starch. 

The husk can be sold locally, but the unit may face difficulty in selling corn steep liquor as there is no unit in the state which produce antibiotics and microbial products. Corn oil can be marketed outside the state as there is good demand for it.

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