Quality maize production would help in doubling farmers’ income in the Northeast as every parts of the plant are consumable.
After all the North-eastern region which consumes a considerable quantity of maize annually right from cereal for babies to feeds for livestock, can be developed as maize belt for domestic needs and export considering it’s closeness to many maize consuming Asian countries.
Dr S L Jat of Indian Institute of Maize Research(IIMR), Ludhiana said this on the sidelines of the two-day national workshop cum brainstorming session on ‘Unleashing the hidden potential of maize technology in NE hill region: status options and strategies’ at the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) complex in Imphal on Tuesday.
“If we cultivate maize in a proper way as done in southern states of the country, it will give a great impact to the social and economy of the north-eastern region,” said Dr Jat.
“Because maize can provide food for humans, feed for livestock, nutrient for soil and subsequently it will indirectly help in reducing the cost of fish, chicken and pork in the market.”
But the region specific maize variety should be cultivated, he added.
The region has enough potential for baby corn and sweet corn varieties as the region hosts the soil having high organic matter.
Interestingly Nagaland is the highest maize producer among the north-eastern states while Karnataka stands top across the country.
Otherwise US and China produces 60 percent of maize in the world, according to IIMR official.
But India’s productivity is less than half of the global average whereas, north-eastern states such as Manipur and Mizoram produces just 1.5-2 tonnes per hectare.
The north-eastern region is facing shortage of employment generation due to less industrialization.
In such scenario, agriculture could be revived by introducing high value region specific maize crops for employment and can help in minimizing youth migration to cities besides improving famers’ livelihood security, according to a scientific paper on ‘Significance of baby corn and sweet corn in NE India: Challenges and opportunities’.
Maize which is the highest growing cereals among all cereals around world especially in India after rice and wheat production, supports major food security in most of the fast growing developing countries across the globe.
Interestingly Manipur’s Deputy Chief Minister Yumnam Joykumar while delivering his speech during the inaugural function of the national workshop on Monday had informed the gathering of many scientists that the government is planning to take up solar power energy generation and proper irrigation system in the State under the 15th plan for better agricultural activities.
Acknowledging the hidden potential of maize cultivation in the north-eastern region, he also expressed his desire that the neighbouring states in the north-eastern region also take up similar steps to improve irrigation facilities so that multiple cropping can be done to enhance the farmers’ income.