Around 62,429 tonnes of summer maize yield is expected to be harvested from 23,320 hectares of land during the current Kharip-1 season in all eight districts in Rajshahi division.
Farmers are passing their busiest time in harvesting the cereal crop with good yield at present. They have completed the harvesting of around sixty-five percent of the cash crop on an average.
The remaining thirty-five percent is expected to be completed by the end of this month as the farmers are intending to cultivate transplanted aman paddy on the same land after harvesting maize.
Karimul Haque, a farmer of Dharmahata village under Paba Upazila, used to cultivate Boro paddy during the last 30 years. But, this season, he has cultivated maize on 10 bighas of land instead of Boro paddy.
Sohrab Ali, another farmer of Bagdhani village in Paba upazila, said he is very happy with cultivating various less-water consuming crops like maize. He had to face many troubles to manage water for irrigation on boro fields but the maize cultivation takes less water.
He said wheat cultivation on per bigha of land needs at least Taka 8,000, and the yield is 14 to 16 maunds. On the contrary, maize farming on one bigha of land needs Taka 6,500, and the yield is 20 to 25 maunds. So, he cultivated maize on 15 bighas of land this season.
Ali got 15 to 17 mounds yield from per bigha of land and sold at Taka 600 to 650 per mound in the last harvesting season.
Shamsul Wadud, Additional Director of the Department of Agriculture Extension, said the farmers are getting around 6.8 to 7.8 tonnes of yield from per hectare of land which is higher to some extent compared to the previous season.
He said maize farming has been gaining popularity as many people are seen humming towards the cash crop farming as it has been giving them better yield and lucrative market price in the region including its vast Barind tract for the last couple of years.
Agriculturist Wadud said the farmers are becoming habituated to the potato-maize-transplanted aman paddy cropping pattern because they are getting more benefit from this pattern in this region for the last couple of years.
In the region, maize is usually cultivated during the summer season (Karip-1 season). After harvesting potatoes, the maize is cultivated in that field.
Only one or two irrigation is required for the land which also decreased the cultivation cost of the crop.
If the yield is good, 20 to 25 maunds of maize is harvested from a bigha of land. In each bigha of cultivation, the cost is Tk 4,000 to Tk 5,000.
At the present market rate, a maund of maize is being sold at Tk 700 to Tk 800. The farmers are getting considerable profit by cultivating the maize.
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 resources 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 and three municipalities of eight upazilas in Rajshahi, Naogaon and Chapainawabganj districts supported by Switzerland since 2015, said Jahangir Alam Khan, coordinator of the project.
Dr Ilias Hossain, Chief Scientific Officer of Bangladesh Wheat and Maize Research Institute (BWMRI), told BSS that maize cultivation both in rabi and kharif seasons in the region has been increasing gradually as the farmers are showing more interest in this crop cultivation.
He 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 of maize seeds.
Maize is being used in preparation of various nutritional foods like corn-well, corn-flex, poultry, fish 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 as it contains huge Vitamin-A, he pointed out.
Dr Hossain said maize is highly beneficial to human health if consumed, the flour prepared through crushing 70 percent wheat and 30 percent maize together.