Virendra Singh Rawat / Lucknow
The Uttar Pradesh government is looking to double maize production from 1.47 million tonnes (MT) to 2.75 MT in about 5 years.
According to industry, India needs to push maize production by 10 MT over the next five years to meet the growing demand for ethanol and poultry feed.
The Yogi Adityanath government 2.0 is working on a strategy to increase the maize yield along with area under the crop.
In India, maize is the third most important cereal after paddy and wheat, accounting for 10 percent of total food grain production. India is the world’s 5th largest maize producer, contributing about 2.5 percent of the global output.
Maize is referred to as the ‘queen of cereals’ owing to its high genetic yield potential among the cereals. It has multiple uses as food, poultry feed and fuel (grain based ethanol).
Besides, maize is used in pharmaceutical, cosmetic, textile, paper and alcohol industries. It is also consumed as value added food such as flour, ‘dhokla’, baby corn and popcorn.
World over, the demand for maize is rising owing to health awareness since people prefer maize for its nutritional value, macronutrients like starch, fibre, protein, fat, vitamin B complex, carotene and essential minerals viz. magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, copper, etc.
In UP, the maize acreage, across different sowing seasons including kharif, rabi and zaid, stood at 691,000 hectares in 2021-2022.
Yet, per hectare yield at 21.63 quintals compares poorly to the national average of 26 quintals. The average yield in Tamil Nadu is much higher at almost 60 quintals.
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According to farm experts, the average yield per hectare in India could go up to 100 quintals.