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Increase maize productivity to meet demand for ethanol production: Prof. Ramesh Chand

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25 January 2024, New Delhi: The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare organized an impactful workshop on ‘Increasing Maize Production’ yesterday at PUSA, New Delhi. The event was held under chairmanship of Prof. Ramesh Chand, Member, NITI Aayog. The workshop, marked by rich dialogue and collaborative strategies, signified a milestone in advancing maize cultivation strategies.

Prof. Ramesh Chand underscored the necessity to increase maize productivity to meet the target demand for ethanol production. He pointed out that achieving the higher maize productivityis crucial for increasing the maize production in the country.

Secretary Mr. Manoj Ahuja offered a contextual overview of the workshop. He emphasized the pivotal role of the private sector in formulating progressive strategies for the maize sector, positioning maize as the crop of opportunity. Mr. Manoj Ahuja shared his concluding remarks, providing key insights from the discussion. He highlighted focus areas, including high-yielding seed varieties, cluster demonstration, procurement policy, and the necessity for the industry to collaborate with farmers for propelling maize production and ensuring better remuneration for farmers.

Additional Secretary, DA&FW, Ms. Shubha Thakur provided insight into DA&FW’s initiatives towards maize production and highlighted opportunities for the private sector to leverage Public Private Partnership for Integrated Agriculture Value Chain Development (PPPAVCD) for maize to ethanol production. Ms. Thakur also shared expectations from state governments, emphasizing the need for collaborative efforts.

The second session featured presentations from notable stakeholders in the state government, research, and the private sector. Special Chief Secretary, Government of Punjab, K.A.P Sinha shared challenges related to diversifying from paddy/wheat to maize in the state. He stressed the need for infrastructure, machinery, incentives to farmers, and procurement at MSP to enable the maize production ecosystem. The Director of ICAR – IIMR, Ludhiana, shared noteworthy work in maize research and development.

Secretary, Agriculture Department, Govt. of Bihar, Mr. Sanjay Agarwal shared the experience of maize production in Bihar. He highlighted state government interventions that contributed to increased maize production and convergence with grain-based distilleries for assured buying from farmers.

Later during the workshop, the All India Distillers Association (AIDA) and the National Seed Association of India (NSAI) presented their perspectives on maize to ethanol production and the role of the private sector in supporting the ecosystem. This led to a diverse exchange of ideas during the open discussion, providing a platform for stakeholders to voice their opinions and collaborate on potential solutions to enhance maize production on both national and global levels.

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