Introduced as part of an experiment in 2002, it has become the viable second crop for farmers in Guntur district. Apart from being a ‘zero tillage’ crop, maize cultivation has several advantages, he says, adding that the black soils is well-suited for the crop for it has good capacity to retain water.

Farm hands are now busy gathering the corn stacks and hauling in the maize thresher throttling at full speed on a vast countryside, abutting this coastal mandal.

This was not a regular sight to be seen in this paddy rich region a decade before. But, a visible shift in the regular cropping pattern dawned on the paddy rich Krishna Western Delta with farmers taking up cultivation of maize as a viable second crop. Maize, which made an entry to the annual crop schedule as part of an experiment in 2002 to tide over water scarcity, is now a viable crop with its crop acreage reaching around 2 lakh acres in the district having a total cultivable area of 2.7 lakh acres.

Best bet for ryots

Dara Sambasiva Rao, a farmer who owns 1.5 acres of land, is all smiles and busy threshing the corn as he hopes a good return this time with a quintal of corn selling at Rs.1,100 per quintal, quite a remunerative price for the farmers which has been increasing steadily over the years.

Apart from being a ‘zero tillage’ crop, maize cultivation has several advantages, he says, adding that the black soils is well-suited for the crop for it has good capacity to retain water. “The crop productivity which has touched 30 quintals per acre is another reason for the farmers to cultivate maize,” he says.

Senior agricultural officials also predict that the production of maize in the State is expected to touch 10 lakh tonnes within two years and the State is poised to leap into the third place in the country in maize production.

High productivity

Andhra Pradesh has recorded highest production of coarse cereals for the year 2012-2013 compared to the five preceding years and in recognition of it, the Government of India has announced the Krishi Karman Award to the Department of Agriculture in the Individual Crop category, the officials say.

The State produces 518,000 metric tonnes of cereals with a productivity of 1,805 kg per hectare. Under the Government of India’s scheme- Initiative for Nutritional Security through Intensive Millet Promotion (INSIMP)- input subsidy of Rs.3,000 per hectare is provided to farmers to promote maize production and processing units are given 100 per cent subsidy to encourage the value added products.

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