Jhalakati: Farmers in the district are cultivating maize in larger areas of land this season as they made satisfactory profit from the cereal item last year despite onslaught of cyclonic storm ‘Mahasen’ during its harvest.
While visiting different areas of the district recently, growers were found busy with maize cultivation in their fields.
They are now sowing seeds after tilling Aman fields immediately after the harvest of the paddy.
This year, they have begun farming of the crop earlier in order to avoid repetition of ‘Mahasen’-like natural disaster.
‘Mohasen’ caused serious harm to maize cultivation in the southern district last year, making the growers deprived of more profit from the crop.
The farmers said non-government organization Brac, under its Food Safety Programs, encouraged them to cultivate maize.
Under supervision of the leading NGO, Hybrid Variety of Pacific 984 maize is being cultivated on 213 acres of land (one acre=30 decimals) in Sadar and Rajapur upazilas.
Besides, being encouraged by the officials of local Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE), farmers are growing the crop on further 385 acres of land in four upazilas, including Rajapur and Sadar, of the district.
Of the 385 acres of land, some 125 acres are in Sadar upazila, 63 acres in Nalchity upazila, 135 acres in Rajapur upazila and 62 acres in Kathalia upazila.
Local agriculture officials said farmers require Tk15,000, including the costs of seeds, fertilizer and irrigation, to grow maize on one acre of land, which can give 90-100 maunds yield (one maund=37.32 kgs) of the crop.
Maize is sold at Tk8,000-9,000 per maund.
Anisur Rahman, a farmer of Bangkura village in the Sadar upazila, said they made profit by farming maize last year though ‘Mahasen’ damaged the crop during harvest.
Describing maize farming as profitable, Abdul Hamid Akon, another farmer of the area, said maize is not only a nutritious food but also a key ingredient of fish and cattle feed.
Champack Aich, manager of Brac’s Food Safety Program, said as part of their initiative to expand maize farming in the district, they are encouraging the farmers to cultivate the crop and providing necessary supports.
He also said farmers can earn net income of Tk 50,000 by cultivating maize on one acre of land.
Maize cultivation gets a boost in Jhalakati