Hybrid Maize Improving Food and Nutritional Security
Non-accessibility of a maize grain market leads to distress sales of green cobs by farmers in local markets. CSISA is working with partners to help farmers build forward market linkages with maize mills as an enabling factor for intensification and income generation.
Half of the potentially arable land in the plateau areas of Mayurbhanj district of Odisha is considered unsuitable for growing rice and remains fallow for most of the year. With high poverty and low literacy rates, these uplands are home to four indigenous tribes: Santal, Ganda, Bathudi and Lohar. Some tribal families grow local varieties of maize in home gardens for household consumption and sell the little surplus as green cobs in the local market. However, yields are often low because farmers use old varieties and traditional sowing methods and lack information about modern agronomic practices to control weeds and manage inputs.
In collaboration with Odisha Department of Agriculture, CSISA started working with women’s self-help groups (SHGs) in this area to improve maize yields through collective maize farming. One such women’s SHG, Johar Jaher Ayo, earned net profit of US$ 240 in 2014 by selling surplus green maize and maize grain, in addition to harvesting a ton of green maize for use by their families and relatives.
In this year, five more SHGs practiced collective maize farming in Badbil village in the plateau area. Saraswati SHG earned a profit of US$ 1,200 and Subhapatni SHG earned US$ 1,000 by selling green cobs and dry grain.
Impact in numbers
Maize yield increased by nearly 75 percent with the use of hybrids, under line sowing and improved agronomy in Mayurbhanj, Odisha.