Ragi (Elusina coracona) also called as Finger Millet is an important millet crop grown all over India. Ragi is a widely cultivated crop of the tropical and subtropical regions of the world,
being grown in Africa, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, China and Japan besides large area in India. It is an important small millet food and fodder crop which is extensively cultivated in Asian countries. Ragi is a major substitute for rice among the diabetic patients and also the diet conscious people. It is one of the few cereals that need not be polished, making it healthier than its counterparts.
More than 80 per cent of the crop is grown in Kharif season. In 2013-14, India produced 1.88 million tonnes of ragi from 1.38 million hectares with an average productivity of 1641 kg per hectare. Karnataka is the largest producer of ragi in India, contributing to 61.9 per cent of the country’s production followed by Uttarkhand (10.9%), Maharashtra (8.8%) and Tamil Nadu (8.7%). In Karnataka the area under the crop was 6.45 lakh hectares leading to a production of 9.75 lakh tonnes in 2012-13. Export demand for ragi exists all round the year. Prices of ragi peak during June - November before a slide in December – January.
To help the farmers in taking a right decision on Marketing of ragi, the Network project on Market Intelligence (NCAP) functioning in the Department of Agricultural Marketing, Co-operation and Business Management, UAS Bangalore collected the modal prices of ragi that prevailed in Hassan market during the last Eleven years and econometric analysis was carried out to predict the prices of ragi for the harvesting months. Also an opinion survey of ragi traders and farmers was conducted.
The support price for ragi is fixed at Rs.2000 per quintal in Karnataka during 2015-16, keeping in view of the higher labour and input costs. Based on the analysis and market survey, it is forecasted that ragi would fetch a modal price of around Rs.1700-1800 per quintal during harvest months. This forecast prevails for current market sentiments & monsoon and could vary with changes in the market situation and rainfall. The Karnataka Government is procuring ragi for Annabhagya program at Rs.2000 per quintal. So farmers are advised to sell to Government Procurement Agencies for better price realization.
Dr. C. P. Gracy, Dr. S. Sakamma, Mangala V Reddy
Department of Agricultural Marketing, Co-operation and Business Management
UAS, GKVK, Bangalore-65