RAJSHAHI: Rajshahi farmers are happy as they are getting enough production of the newly harvested maize and its fair prices in the local markets this year.
For the last couple of weeks, farmers have been much busy in harvesting, segregating, drying and transporting the crop amid the suitable climatic condition.Maize farming brings a smile here as they are becoming financially solvent by cultivating the crop, meeting its growing demand of the consumers amid the corona pandemic. Jahidul Islam, 40, a maize farmer of Harishankarpur village under Godagari upazila, has cultivated maize on three bighas of land this year expecting that he will be benefited from the crop as both yield and market price are lucrative.
Islam said maize grain is being sold at Taka 730 to 740 per mound in the local market at present.
Sarwar Kamal, 45, another farmer of Char Asariadaha village under the same upazila, said many of his co-villagers are seen harvesting 50 to 55 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 three acres of land after harvesting potato this year without any additional cost,” said Ragib Ali, 55, 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 13 lakh community people of 2.70 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 1,290 drought-hit villages in 39 Union Parishads and three municipalities of nine 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 5.69 lakh tonnes of maize yield are expected to be produced from 54,593 hectares of land in all eight districts under Rajshahi division during the current season.
DAE has set the target of producing around 3.30 lakh tonnes of maize from 31,975 hectares of land in four districts of Rajshahi Agricultural Zone while 2.35 lakh tonnes from 22,618 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 29,600 small and marginal farmers were given seeds and fertilisers free of cost for the maize farming under the government’s agricultural incentive programme.
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.