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Country's maize yield needs to be doubled from the current 2.7 tonne per hectare in order to boost farmers' income and increase production to 45 million tonne by 2022, a top agriculture ministry official said today.
While there are constrains of land resources, the only option left with farmers is to increase the maize yield, which can be done by adopting advanced hybrids and best agronomic practices, the official said.
The government targets to increase maize production to 45 million tonne by 2022 from the current 27 million tonne in 2017-18 crop year.
National Rainfed Area Authority (NRAA) CEO Ashok Dalwai said farmers' income can be increased with more cultivation of maize, which is used as food, feed and fuel.
He was addressing an event on maize organised by Ficci.
Farmers can increase their income with efficient and cost-effective cultivation of maize, he said.
For this, productivity of maize or corn needs to be doubled from the current level of 2.7 tonne per hectare because the acreage under this crop cannot be expanded in view of the limited land resources.
India's maize yield is lower than Brazil (5.5 tonne/hectare), China (6 tonne/hectare) and the US (10.2 tonne/hectare), he added.
To increase crop yield, the country needs to adopt double-hybrids and three-way cross hybrid seeds. Presently, 30 per cent of maize area is under single-cross hybrid, he said. "More importantly, we must be looking at better agronomic practices. What we achieve on the research field and what we achieve on farmer's field, there is 60 per cent decline. That means we have not been able to transform the right technologies and agronomic practices on farmer's field," he said.
The information and communications technology (ICT )and manpower extension services should be combined to transfer the technology and improve agronomic practices, he added.
Dalwai, who also heads a committee on doubling farmers' income, said the gross income of maize farmers in Bihar, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka is around Rs 40,000 per hectare.
However, the same for maize growers in Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Gujarat is very low. There is a lot of potential in west India, he added.
Earlier, addressing the event, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said Indian Institute of Maize Research (IIMR), Ludhiana has been mandated to carry out basic, strategic and applied research for enhancing production, productivity and sustainability of the crop.
The government is promoting maize cultivation in 265 districts across 28 states by providing necessary financial assistance through various interventions.
The minister also released a report on 'Maize Vision 2022' prepared jointly by Ficci and PwC.