The data shows, 13,200 farmers exceeded the DAE office's target by cultivating the cereal crop on an extra 825 hectares of land in the upazila this year
Farmers in Kaliganj upazila, Jhenaidah, are once again optimistic about maize cultivation as the crop has been causing happiness to increasingly larger numbers of them in the past few years.
Lower dependence on insecticides and irrigation, along with higher profits, compared to paddy cultivation are the key reasons for the expansion of maize cultivation in the upazila, said sources at the local Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) office.
Statistics from the DAE office show that farmers cultivated maize on 2325 hectares of land this year, however, the target of DAE office was for 1500 hectares. The targeted figure was 1450 hectares in the previous year. In the 2014-15 fiscal, the DAE targeted maize to be cultivated on just 105 hectares of Kaliganj, a figure which has increased ever since.
The data shows, 13,200 farmers exceeded the DAE office's target by cultivating the cereal crop on an extra 825 hectares of land in the upazila this year.
In Kaliganj, maize is mostly cultivated in Baliadanga, Niamatpur, Trilochonpur, Hasnahati, Tilla and Ishwarba villages.
Maize farmer Tarikul Islam, of Ishraba village, said: "I have cultivated maize on two bighas of land. If the yield is fair, we should profit as much as the cultivation cost."
"The upazila agriculture office helped me with fertilizers, insecticides and seeds. We farmers spend around Tk11,000 for maize cultivation per bigha and if weather conditions are favourable the yield should be nearly 50 maunds per bigha.
Joynal Abedin, another farmer of the same village, said he sold 300 maunds of maize last year and his yield was around 45 maunds per bigha. Last year raw maize was sold at Tk450 per maund while the dried ones were sold at Tk750 per maund.
Although paddy and raw maize earn farmers similar profits, maize on the same area of land grows twice as much, thus making the crop more profitable. Dried maize is even more profitable, adds Joynal.
Sub Assistant Agriculture Officer Bishwajit Biswas said: "This year the government helped 800 farmers in Kaliganj upazila with incentives. Every one of them was provided with 2kgs of maize seedlings and 30 kgs of fertilizers."
He added that 64 people apart from the 800 were given additional incentives of Tk1500 under a special government project.
Upazila Agriculture Officer Jahidul Karim said: "Maize is a low risk crop and also brings in good profits. This is the reason farmers have been turning to this crop."