The multipurpose use of maize is the main reason behind its cultivation
Despite the possibility of a bumper maize crop in the district’s Birampur upazila—due to favourable weather conditions and absence of crop diseases—cultivators are afraid of whether they will receive a fair price for their crops or not.
Maize cultivation is prevalent in the district’s other upazilas, including: Pali Prayagpur, Mukundapur, Katla union, and more.
A good number of growers said they have started growing maize instead of paddy to save cost, get good output, and earn high profits.
The target of cultivation has increased every year, in the district, and the farmers are cultivating their crops on the banks of the Jamuna River, according to locals.
The multipurpose use of maize is the main reason behind its cultivation.
After harvesting, the ripened maize is sold on the market year-round. The green leaves and immature maize are used as good cow fodder. The stick of the crop is also used as fire wood in rural areas.
The local Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) has been providing maize seeds, fertilizer and relevant advice—all in the form of agricultural incentives—to promote maize cultivation in the district.
It is done especially on land that is slightly elevated or that has loam soil .
Sirajul Islam, a maize farmer in Hariharpur village of Birampur upazila, said both he and his brother cultivate corn on five-acres of land, along with many others from his village.
Among the top maize varieties preferred by farmers, are ACI Don 11, 12; Kabari 3696; Kabari Profit; Kabari 100; and Godfather.
Azizar Rahman, another farmer from Hariharpur village, said he prefers the Kabari varieties on his 0.33 satak of land, which will enable him to produce at least 40-45 maunds of corn this season.
However, he is also afraid about its price in the market, citing the poor price recent Aman crops fetched last month.
“Many incurred huge losses, with many even losing their working capital. There is no guarantee that we will not fall victim as well,” he added.
However, several farmers alleged the local DAE office is forcing them to purchase a substandard Kohinoor variety of maize seeds from them, which had disastrous results last season.
On the local market, a kilogram of Kabari seeds cost Tk350-370 and ACI Don costs Tk450-470; while the Kohinoor seeds—although costing less at Tk110-125 per kilogram—fetch only 20-25 maunds per 0.50 satak of land. The other breeds fetch at least 30 maunds of corn per 0.50 satak land.
Nixon Chandra Pal, local agriculture officer, said the farmers in the district were self-motivated to cultivate maize in the region, which reached 650 hectares so far.
He added that maize cultivation has already become popular among the farmers and poorer sections of people of both mainland and char areas also improving their livelihoods.
He said maize is currently being used as fodder for domestic animals and poultry birds, though different foodstuffs could be prepared with it and consumed by changing food habits to meet nutritional demands of the population reducing pressure on rice.
Maize contains adequate Vitamin A and its multidimensional uses, including production of corn oil with no cholesterol. Consuming this oil could help heart patients.