Farmers have produced an all-time record quantity of over 13.39 lakh tonnes of maize during the last Rabi and just- ended Kharif-1 seasons this year in Rangpur agriculture region.
Officials of the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) and market sources said all-time record high prices of maize have made farmers very happy in all five districts of the region this year.
Like in the last Rabi season, farmers are currently selling their harvested maize during the just-ended Kharif-1 season at rates between Taka 1,100 and Taka 1,250 per mound (every 40-kg).
Last year, farmers sold their produced maize at rates between Taka 850 and Taka 950 per mound. Officials of the DAE said farmers produced over 11.48 lakh tonnes of maize during the last Rabi season and more than 1.91 tonnes of the crop during the last Kharif-1 season in the region.
Earlier, the DAE had fixed a target of producing over 11.33 lakh tonnes of maize from 1,04,045 hectares of land for all five districts in the region during the last Rabi season. "Farmers finally cultivated maize on 1,06,217 hectares of land and produced 11.48 lakh tonnes of the crop during the last Rabi season," Additional Director of the DAE for Rangpur region Agriculturist Md. Emdad Hossain Sheikh said.
On the other hand, the DAE had fixed a target of producing over 2.21 lakh tonnes of maize from 24,600 hectares of land for the region during the last Kharif-1 season.
"However, farmers finally cultivated maize on 20,831 hectares of land and produced 1.91 lakh tonnes of the crop during the just-ended Kharif-1 season," Hossain said.
The government provided special incentives, high yielding varieties of maize seeds and fertilizers and latest technologies to small, marginal and flood- hit farmers to expand maize farming during both the seasons.
"Many farmers and char people have cut poverty and achieved self-reliance through maize cultivation in Rangpur, Gaibandha, Kurigram, Nilphamari and Lalmonirhat districts of the region in the last 13 years," Hossain added.
Senior Coordinator (Agriculture and Environment) of RDRS Bangladesh Agriculturist Mamunur Rashid said maize cultivation has become popular among the farmers in the region. Maize farming on the mainland and riverine sandy char areas is more profitable than many other crops and is effectively helping farmers in cutting poverty and improving their livelihoods and living standard.
Farmers are reaping high profits from maize farming following huge demand for the crop in the flourishing poultry feed, animal feed and food industries across the country during the last more than one decade.
"There is a brighter prospect to expand maize farming on the vast abandoned char lands of the northern region to further increase production of the crop on the way to ensure national food security amid adverse impacts of climate change," Rashid added. Farmers Abed Ali, Jashim Uddin, Abdur Rahman, Farhad Hossain and Mohubar Rahman of different villages here said they got bumper productions of maize and earned highest ever profits during both the last Rabi and Kharif-1 seasons this year.