DAE sources said the reasons many farmers switched to maize cultivation include demand from the feed industry
Experimental cultivation of maize in Sylhet has paid off, resulting in a bumper yield of 7.45 metric tons per hectare of land in the region this year.
Md Shahjahan, additional director of the district's Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE), said that the production figure this year is almost equal to that of North Bengal, known to be the largest maize cultivating region of the country.
According to DAE sources, maize was cultivated on 725 hectares of land this year, among which 265 hectares was in Sylhet Sadar upazila, 85 hectares in Moulvibazar, 100 hectares in Habiganj, and 275 hectares in Sunamganj.
The four upazilas produced 5,567 metric tons of maize altogether, among which 2,186 tons was from Sylhet Sadar, 510 tons from Moulvibazar, 700 tons from Habiganj, and 2,071 metric tons from Sunamganj. The average production per hectare was 7.45 tons.
Md Abul Kashem, Nurul Haque, Bashir Uddin, and some other maize farmers of Larifar village, under Phulbari union of Golapganj upazila, said their first year of maize cultivation has resulted in bumper yields.
However, selling the produce has still been a difficulty for first timers, they added, expressing hope that the DAE office will help them in the near future.
DAE sources said the reasons many farmers switched to maize cultivation include demand from the feed industry, comparative advantage in terms of profits for farmers, lower irrigation requirements, and the availability of both homegrown and imported hybrid seeds with high yield potential.
Maize can be grown both in Rabi and Kharif seasons. Most of the cultivators are using modern methods on their cropland to get bumper production, officials added.
DAE official Md Shahjahan said the government has put emphasis on expanding cultivation of crops that consume less irrigation water, such as maize, to help those who are poverty stricken.
“The DAE provided seeds, fertilizer, and technical assistance to small and marginal farmers in the Rangpur region, to expand cultivation of maize and boost its production this season,” he said.
Shahab Uddin, deputy director of the Sylhet DAE office, said the arable lands of Sylhet have proved to be perfect for maize cultivation, as the bumper yields have shown.
“Expanding the cultivation of low-irrigation water consuming crops, like maize, and adopting agriculture technology such as strip tillage can save ground water, ensure food security, and help address climate change,” he said.