Amid the growing demand for maize to feed its entire value chain from food to industrial uses, the Uttar Pradesh government is targetting to double production of the cereal from 1.47 million tonnes (mt) to 2.75 mt in 4-5 years.
Industry has estimated that India needs to ramp up domestic maize production by 10 mt over the next five years to cater to the demand for ethanol as well as demand from the poultry sector. The domestic production of maize in 2022-23 (July-June) is estimated at 34.6 mt compared to 33.7 mt last year.
Now, the UP government is working on a two-pronged strategy of increasing the yield as well as the area under the maize crop. According to official statistics, maize acreage in UP logged 193,000 hectares in the current zaid sowing season against the target of 171,000 hectares. Zaid is a short farming season in summer between the rabi and kharif seasons.
Maize is the third most important cereal crop in India after paddy and wheat, accounting for about 10 per cent of the total foodgrain production. India is the 5th largest producer of maize in the world, accounting for roughly 2.5 per cent of the global output.
Globally, maize is referred to as the “queen of cereals” owing to its high genetic yield potential among the cereal crops.
“Under our rural economy road map, the Yogi Adityanath government is focussing on a basket of unconventional crops, including maize, oilseeds and pulses,” a UP government spokesperson said.
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In UP, maize acreage, across different sowing seasons, stood at nearly 691,000 hectares in 2021-2022. However, per hectare yield at 21.63 quintals compared poorly to the national average of 26 quintals. The average yield in Tamil Nadu is much higher at almost 60 quintals. According to farm experts, the average yield per hectare in India could go up to 100 quintals with targetted interventions.