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Industrial Usage Of Maize Can Grow Manifold Globally

The role of maize in shaping sustainable industries and the global food system marks a brighter future

Bhupendra Pratap Singh, the Supply Chain Manager at Roquette India Pvt. Ltd., a subsidiary of the French multinational Roquette, spearheads the management of maize procurement across several states – Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, and Uttarakhand. Roquette, a global leader in plant-based ingredients and a major provider of pharmaceutical excipients, stands as India’s largest starch manufacturer, boasting a production site and research and development unit in Rudrapur, Uttarakhand.

Looking ahead, projections indicate a steady 10% annual increase in maize usage as feed. This growth aligns with the expanding poultry and starch industries, which drive higher maize consumption rates in India.

In an insightful conversation with The Interview World, Bhupendra Pratap Singh delves into the multifaceted utility of maize, the industry-specific demand dynamics, global consumption trends, and the state-wise maize production landscape. Here, we distill the key highlights from his interview.

Q: How does maize contribute to everyday life through its various utilities?

A: Maize, commonly known as corn, boasts a multitude of applications throughout daily life. Initially, it serves as a vital food staple for millions worldwide. Moreover, it offers versatility in various forms like corn on the cob, popcorn, and cornmeal. Moreover, maize plays a crucial role in livestock farming, being a primary ingredient in animal feed. Beyond its role in nourishment, maize finds extensive usage in diverse industrial sectors.

Its derivatives, such as cornstarch, are essential in manufacturing bioplastics, adhesives, and paper, while corn ethanol fuels the biofuel industry. Furthermore, sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup dominate the food and beverage market, and maize fibers contribute to textiles, albeit less frequently than traditional fibers. Additionally, maize supports the development of biodegradable products and serves as a raw material in pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and personal care items. It remains a key component in the production of alcoholic beverages as well.

Lastly, maize husks and stalks are utilized decoratively, particularly during seasonal festivals and ornamental arrangements. This broad spectrum of applications underscores maize’s significance across various aspects of everyday life, from sustenance to industry and culture.

Q: How can we identify the industry with the highest demand for maize?

A: The demand for maize, a versatile crop, stems primarily from key industries. The animal feed sector stands out as the foremost driver, utilizing maize as a crucial ingredient in feed formulations for livestock such as poultry, swine, and cattle. Maize’s nutritional value and cost-effectiveness establish it as a cornerstone of animal nutrition globally. Moreover, maize plays a pivotal role in the food and beverage industry, being incorporated into various products like breakfast cereals, snacks, and baking ingredients. Particularly in regions where maize is a dietary staple, the demand for maize-derived food products remains consistently high.

Additionally, maize serves as a vital feedstock for ethanol production, contributing significantly to the renewable energy sector. Countries with biofuel mandates or incentives often witness substantial demand for maize for ethanol production. Beyond these sectors, maize finds application in various industrial processes, including the production of bioplastics, adhesives, and pharmaceuticals. While the demand for maize in these industrial uses may not match that of animal feed or food production, it nonetheless contributes to overall demand and diversifies the crop’s market reach.

Q: What factors contribute to the comparatively lower consumption of maize in India in comparison to other developed nations?

A: Currently, over 170 countries worldwide collectively produce nearly 1147.7 million MT of maize from an expansive area of 193.7 million ha, achieving an average productivity of 5.75 t/ha (FAOSTAT, 2020). The global consumption pattern of maize delineates that 61% is allocated to feed, 17% to food, and 22% to industry. Maize has secured a pivotal role as an industrial crop globally, with 83% of its production utilized in feed, starch, and bio-fuel industries, thereby offering extensive avenues for value addition through more than 3000 products. This multifaceted utility cements its position as a cornerstone of the global agricultural economy.

China, the USA, and Brazil emerge as the principal consumers, collectively accounting for over 50% of global corn production. Notably, in the 2022-23 period, the USA led with consumption of 11990M bushels, followed closely by China with 11692M bushels, and significant volumes were also consumed by the European Union (2996M bushels) and Brazil (2992M bushels).

Several factors underpin the relatively lower maize consumption in India compared to other developed nations. Firstly, Indian dietary habits and cultural inclinations prioritize grains such as rice and wheat over maize, a preference deeply entrenched in traditional cuisine and eating habits nationwide. Additionally, the limited extent and distribution of maize production in India affect its availability, particularly in rural regions where rice and wheat dominate cultivation and consumption.

Moreover, a substantial portion of maize produced in India is directed towards livestock feed rather than human consumption, mirroring the escalating demand for meat and dairy products. Furthermore, the underdeveloped processing infrastructure for maize products in India impacts both the availability and variety of maize-based goods in the market. Price and affordability considerations also contribute, with maize products often perceived as costlier or less accessible compared to alternatives like rice and wheat.

Q: How do maize production levels vary across states, and what is the distribution of production shares among them?

A: Throughout the year, maize thrives across all states of the country, serving myriad purposes such as grain, fodder, green cobs, sweet corn, baby corn, and popcorn, particularly in peri-urban areas. Predominantly, maize cultivation flourishes in key states, namely Madhya Pradesh (15%), Karnataka (15%), Maharashtra (12%), Rajasthan (9%), Uttar Pradesh (8%), Bihar (7%), Telangana (6%), Gujarat (5%), Tamil Nadu (3%), and Jammu & Kashmir (3%), together contributing over 80% of the total maize production.

In the global maize landscape, India claims the 7th position in production and the 4th position in cultivation area. Approximately 2% of the world’s maize production originates from India, covering 4% of the global maize cultivation area.

The Maize Maze - Exploring its Industrial, Culinary, and Cultural Significance
The Maize Maze – Exploring its Industrial, Culinary, and Cultural Significance
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