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.

Member's of a CSISA-supported women's SHG from the plateau region of Mayurbhanj, Odisha.

All these groups have adopted a package of improved practices introduced by CSISA, which include use of hybrids, appropriate plant population using seed drill machine and judicious nutrient management.

More than financial profits, the women farmers were pleased that they could provide nutritious food for their children during the lean season from August to October, when grain stores from the previous cropping season have usually been used up.

While the sale of green cobs can be remunerative for these communities, it is a perishable commodity that cannot be stored and local markets often become saturated, leading to lower prices and distress sales. At the regional scale, there are large markets for dry grain among feed and food millers, who source maize in bulk and not from individual farmers.

CSISA is helping by linking these tribal farmers with new and established markets for maize grain through organizing community consultations with representatives of poultry feed mills in the predominantly tribal belt of Mayurbhanj.

Impact in numbers

Maize yield increased by nearly 75 percent with the use of hybrids, under line sowing and improved agronomy in Mayurbhanj, Odisha.

Research Results

The results of five years of research at CSISA’s Karnal Research Platform demonstrate that Kharif maize is a suitable and profitable alternative to rice in the rainy season in northwest India to address issues of scarcity of water, labor and energy in the region.

Meet Megharaj Tudu. This enterprising 30-year-old returned home to Majhigaon Village in Mayurbhanj’s Kusumi Block despite successfully completing his Bachelors of Arts degree to help out his ageing parents. There was a time when he worried about how he would manage all by himself. But today, thanks to CSISA’s initiative on ‘Line Sowing of Maize Using Seed Drill,’ he proudly presents his healthy looking crop spread over 12 acres of land. He shares, “We farmers do not know what all tools and technologies are available to help us. I was fortunate to get this opportunity, which enabled me to sow all this in just one day. And that is truly a good feeling.”
Follow us
Written and edited by: Anuradha Dhar, Ashwamegh Banerjee and Cynthia Mathys. Photo credits: Ashwamegh Banerjee, Srikanth Kolari, Vinaynath Reddy, Satish Kumar, Suryakanta Khandai and Wasim Iftikar. Copyright © the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), 2015. All rights reserved. Any opinions, boundaries and names stated herein are those of the authors and are not necessarily representative of or endorsed by the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) or its partner organizations. Fair use of this material is encouraged. Proper citation is requested.

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.