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Cultivation of maize in Rajshahi region, especially in Barind tract and Chalan Beel areas, has gradually been increasing as the farmers are showing more interest, reports BSS.
The farmers got fair prices of maize during the last couple of years inspiring them to cultivate more maize. 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.
Nomanul Islam, a farmer of Gogram village in Godagari Upazila, has cultivated maize on one and half bighas of land during the current season. He along with many other fellow farmers expects better yield as suitable weather prevails in Rajshahi now. “I got 16 to 18 maunds yield from per bigha of land and sold at Tk 550 to 600 per mound in last harvesting season,” said Islam. The Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) has set a target of producing 4.58 lakh metric tonnes of maize from 41,135 hectares of land in eight districts under Rajshahi division during this Rabi season. Dr Ilias Hossain, Principal Scientific Officer of Bangladesh Wheat and Maize Research Institute, 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.
He said the farmers both the small and marginal ones cultivate the cash crop in more lands including the vast Barind tract and char areas in the region. Availability of quality seeds, including 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 Conservation Agriculture (CA)-based and raised-bed methods since 2010.
SM Mustafizur Rahman, additional 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.
Agriculturist Rahman 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 attributed that the maize is now being used in preparation of various nutritional foods like corn-well, corn-flakes, 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.