Millet prices rise with growing demand in south

Jan 22, 2019

Indian food traders understand the meaning of healthy foods and sincerely cashing in on the growing trend of usage of millet by urban consumers who increasingly prefer small millets. Besides scarce supplies, the traders’ rising interest has led to an increase in the price of some varieties such as foxtail millet and browntop millet over the past couple of months.

While prices of the browntop millet, considered to be rich in fibre, have doubled to ₹260-300 a kg since November, that of foxtail millet have risen by over 40 per cent to Rs.70-100 in the retail segment.

There is a sudden spurt in demand from Telangana, mainly Hyderabad, for the browntop millet, which has resulted in a price spike. As initially only 30-35 quintals of browntop millet was sent to Hyderabad a year. Now, since December, same quantities are being sent on a monthly basis. Also there is suddenly a spike in traders’ interest. They are starting to aggregate and have sort of started dominating the industry.

With millets catching the fancy of traders and setting off a speculative trend in prices, the processed and convenience food makers are forced to look at other States beyond Karnataka, Telangana and Tamil Nadu to source the nutri-cereals. However, with rising consumer interest millets have entered the retail shelves of grocery chains and kirana shops, at least in South India, Jadhav said.

One of the reasons attributed for the rise in prices is growers holding back their produce anticipating better prices. “People are not releasing their produce into the markets,” said Vilas Tonapi, Director, Indian Institute of Millets Research. And the price rise of millet is due to the growing interest in millets and its projected demand seems to be on the higher side than the actual demand, he said.

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