Maize cultivation catches up in Guntur district
Zero tillage concept caught up in Guntur district in the coastal belt from Duggirala to Repalle in Tenali Revenue Division, which literally revolutionised the agricultural practices and economy of majority of the farmers, who were reeling under getting non-remunerative prices for paddy and pulses.
Maize came as a boon to the people in this region, who depended mainly on black gram and Bengal gram as second crop or alternative to paddy in times of lower water supply conditions.
Though maize required good water supply, optimum use and Zero Tillage technology has literally given a new lease of life to the farms and its owners. The area under rice has stabilised and further expansion seems unlikely. At the same time, evidence suggests that growth in cereal yields has begun to slow in many high-potential agricultural areas, possibly owing to soil nutrient mining, declining levels of organic matter, increasing salinity, falling water tables and the build-up of weed, pathogen and pest populations.
The challenge facing the region, therefore, is to further increase productivity while making agriculture more efficient, ecologically sound and sustainable.
At this juncture good price for the quality maize produced from Guntur has given a shot in the arm to the farmers and aided by the technological know-how and support by Directorate of Maize Research, farmers had been doing a great work. What lacks is a research centre in Guntur, which has overtaken many other states and districts within AP in per acre production. The DMR is entrusted with the over all responsibility of research, coordination and management of the multidisciplinary programmes at national level and maintaining linkages with International programmes on maize improvement as well.
Besides, the project aims at a stable production of maize through avoidance/tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses, improved agro-techniques and quality improvement.
The DMR would take up research on post-harvest handling, value addition besides research on diversified uses of maize for direct consumption and industrial uses as value added products.
This value addition is being addressed by the District Administration also by roping in some agencies that could help farmers set up units.