Maize farming brings a smile on farmers’ faces in Rajshahi as they are becoming financially solvent by cultivating the crop, meeting its growing demand of the consumers amid the Covid-19 pandemic

Farmers have become delighted with bumper yield and cherished market price of the newly harvested maize everywhere in Rajshahi region and Manikganj district. 

According to BSS reports, maize farming brings a smile on farmers’ faces in Rajshahi as they are becoming financially solvent by cultivating the crop, meeting its growing demand of the consumers amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

For the last couple of weeks, farmers have been very much busy in harvesting, segregating, drying and transporting the cereal crop amid the suitable climatic condition.

Polash Hossain, 45, a maize farmer of Harishankar Pur village under Godagari upazila, has cultivated maize on two bighas of land this year expecting that he will be benefited from the crop as both yield and market price are lucrative.

Hossain said maize grain is being sold at Tk 725 to 730 per mound in the local market at present.

Sarwar Sheikh, 48, another farmer of Char Asariadaha village under the same upazila, said many of his co-villagers are seen harvesting 45 to 50 mounds of yield from each bigha of char lands on an average.

Most of the farmers are happy with the sale price, he added.

“We’ve cultivated maize on two acres of land after harvesting potato this year without any additional cost,” said Shafiqul Islam, 53, of Kanaipara village under Puthiya upazila, adding maize farming on potato fields is very profitable.

He said farmers are getting benefits with less production cost besides cultivating high yielding varieties of maize contributing to boost the acreage every year.

More than 12.58 lakh community people of 2.66 lakh households are being motivated and encouraged towards farming of various less-irrigation consuming crops including maize to reduce the pressure on underground water in the Barind area with intervention of the ‘Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM)’ project.

The project is being implemented in around 1,280 drought-hit villages in 39 Union Parishads (Ups) and three municipalities of eight upazilas in Rajshahi, Naogaon and Chapainawabganj districts since 2014, said Jahangir Alam Khan, coordinator of the project.

Abdul Awal, deputy director of the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE), said there was no scarcity of seeds this time, So, huge quantities of seeds were distributed among the farmers and they timely completed sowing it, he added.

Meanwhile, around 5.59 lakh tons of maize yield are expected to be produced from 54,093 hectares of land in all eight districts under Rajshahi division during the current season.

DAE has set the target of producing around 3.27 lakh tonnes of maize from 31,675 hectares of land in four districts of Rajshahi Agricultural Zone while 2.32 lakh tons from 22,418 hectares of land in four other districts of Bogura Agricultural Zone.

DAE Additional Director Sirajul Islam said diversified steps including distribution of incentives among farmers besides provision of need-based training for them were taken to attain the production target.

He said 29,500 small and marginal farmers were given seeds and fertilizers free of cost for the maize farming under the government’s agricultural incentive program.

Principal Scientific Officer of Bangladesh Wheat and Maize Research Institute (BWMRI) Dr Ilias Hossain 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.

BWMRI has released five high yielding maize varieties and two of those-BARI Hybrid Bhutta-12 and 13- are both heat and drought tolerant. So, these are becoming popular in the growers’ level of the region.

The demand for the crop is on the rise with the increase of the poultry and poultry birds farms as it contains huge Vitamin-A, he pointed out.

Dr Hossain said maize is highly beneficial to human health.

In Manikganj, Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) sources said the maize cultivators have been achieving bumper production for several years in Manikganj district.

The sources said maize cultivation is gaining popularity day by day in all seven upazilas of the district.

They said easy cultivation, less irrigation and much demand in the markets are the main causes of the popularity of maize cultivation.

The maize is sold in the market round the year and its green leaves are used as cattle fodder. The sticks of maize are also used as fire wood in the rural areas. The immature maize plants are also used as cattle fodder.

Manir uddin, one of the maize cultivators of Char Bailjuri village under Ghior upazila of the district said he had cultivated maize in five bighas of land this year.

He said “I will cultivate maize on the same land after reaping it.”

Most of the maize cultivators like Munir uddin cultivate maize twice on the same lands.

The maize has already started to be harvested. Now per maund of maize is being sold at Tk. 750-850 in the markets

DAE sources said the cultivation of maize also exceeded the target this year.

The target of cultivation of maize was fixed at 16,000 hectares of land during the Robi season in the district this year with a production target of 1, 57,320 metric tons.

Sources said 3850 hectares of land came under maize cultivation in Manikganj Sadar upazila, 1000 hectares in Singair upazila, 4,550 hectares in Saturia upazila, 1,600 hectares in Ghior upazila, 2,000 hectares in Daulatpur upazila, 650 hectares in Shibalaya upazila and 2,350 hectares in Harirampur Upazila.

DAE also set a target of cultivation of maize in the Kharif-1 season on 6500 hectares of land with a production target of 48,880 metric tons.

The cultivation of maize in Kharif-1 season is continuing in all seven upazilas of the district.

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