Maize farming makes scores of growers happy in Rajshahi

Maize farming makes scores of growers happy in Rajshahi

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By dint of its gradually increasing demand and lucrative market price, scores of growers have become happy over the maize farming both in rabi and kharip seasons in Rajshahi region, especially Barind tract and Chalan Beel areas.
Farmers are switching to maize cultivation in increasing numbers because of better prices of the cereal and high demand by feed and flour mills.The shift in cultivation from other crops such as wheat and rice has raised maize output, reducing the country’s dependence on import. Stakeholders linked the shift in farming with higher prices of maize than that of rice and other crops.Future growth in cultivation, however, will largely depend on the market price and health of the poultry industry.The farmers got fair prices of maize during the last couple of years inspiring them to cultivate more maize as its farming risk-free. There are brighter prospects for increasing maize production and the government has put due emphasis on the issue.The region is viable for huge maize cultivation which can play a vital role in transforming traditional agriculture into commercial one because of its multiple use and economic benefit.Lower cultivation cost of the crop than rice is another reason that attracted farmers to maize, a key ingredient of poultry and other feeds.“A rise in temperature affects the production of wheat in winter. But maize can tolerate high temperature,” said Dr Israil Hossain, Chief Scientific Officer of Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI).So, a section of farmers prefers growing maize to wheat and winter crops as there is a demand for maize at the feed mills, he said.Maize contains huge Vitamin-A and its multi-dimensional use including production of corn oil with no cholesterol from maize can helps heart patients in many ways through consuming its oil.Dr Israil Hossain said the farmers both the small and marginal cultivate the cash crop in more lands including the vast Barind tract and char areas in the region. Availability of quality seeds, ncluding hybrid varieties, huge demand of the commodity in the country and maximum profits have encouraged them towards the farming remarkably.To mitigate the water-stress condition in Barind Tract, step has been adopted to make the farmers habituated in farming maize through CA-based and raised-bed methods with intervention of SRFSI and CIMMYT since 2010.
Principles of conservation agriculture are use of reduced tillage, retention of some amounts of residues on the field, sustainable and profitable crop diversification and its rotation and judicious use of natural resources.Raised beds facilitate sowing without waste of time allowing crop growth to better match water availability, said Dr Israil Hossain.Hazrat Ali, deputy director of Department of Agriculture Extension, said there was no scarcity of seeds this time as huge quantities of the same were distributed among the farmers and they timely completed sowing maize seeds in more lands under the crop farming program.He hoped that the enhanced farming could supplement the efforts to ensure food security adding that the field level DAE officials and staffs are working relentlessly to overcome the existing obstacles being faced by the farmers relating to the maize farming.Dr Ilias Hossain, senior scientific officer of Regional Wheat Research Centre, said various steps have been adopted to increase the acreage of maize along with boosting its yield as the crop diversification has been given top priority in the existing water-stress condition.He, however, said maize is being used in preparation of various nutritional foods like corn-well, corn-flex, poultry and animal feed and fodder and in several industrial products as well. The demand for the crop is on the rise with the increase of the poultry and dairy farms, he pointed out.“Maize is highly beneficial to human health if consumed the flour prepared through crushing 70 percent wheat and 30 percent maize together”, he said citing various recognised international level scientific research findings and analyses.Proper and diversified use of potato with maize and some other crops in a planned manner can help reducing high pressure on rice side by side with ensuring nutritional demands and food security amid adverse impact of climate change, Dr Ilias added. -BSS, Rajshahi

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