Finger millet, more commonly known as ragi, is a cereal widely grown in the African and Asian continents is used as a major substitute for rice among the diabetic patients and also the diet conscious people. It is one of the few cereals that needn’t be polished making it healthier than its counterparts.
More than 80 per cent of the crop is grown in Kharif season. In 2014-15, India produced 18.87 lakh tonne of ragi from 11.94 lakh hectares with an average productivity of 0.63 tonnes per hectare. Karnataka is the largest producer of ragi in India, contributing to 66 per cent of the country’s production followed by Tamil Nadu (14%), Uttarakhand (9%) and Maharashtra (5%). In Karnataka the area under the crop was 6.71 lakh hectares leading to production of 12.30 lakh tonnes in 2014-15. Ragi from India is exported to Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Srilanka. Export demand for ragi exists all round the year. Prices of ragi peak during June – November.
To help the farmers in taking a right decision on sowing ragi, the NCAP Network project on Market Intelligence 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 was conducted. Based on the analysis and market survey, it is forecasted that ragi would fetch a modal price of around Rs.1300-1400 per quintal during harvest months. The support price for ragi is fixed at Rs.2000/qtl in Karnataka during 2015-16. Keeping in view of the higher labour and input costs, there is a need for evolving suitable mechanism to maintain prices at remunerative levels. This forecast prevails for current market sentiments & monsoon and could vary with changes in the market situation and rainfall. Farmers are advised to wait till the Government Procurement Agencies procure ragi for better price realization as market prices are unlikely to move up during forecast period.
Dr. M. S. Jayaram, Dr. C. P. Gracy, Dr. M. R. Girish
R. Thejeswini, Mangala V Reddy
Department of Agricultural Marketing, Co-operation and Business Management
UAS, GKVK, Bangalore-65